A Nod to Sam's Courage

Though we have lived and worked in Columbia, Missouri, for 16 years, I have always been a casual Tiger fan.  This week, however, I have become a big fan of Michael Sam, the star defensive end who announced his homosexuality in advance of the NFL draft.

It is difficult enough to be openly gay in our intolerant theocracy let alone in the homophobic world of professional football.  If drafted (which seems certain), Sam will be the first, openly gay participant in a league known for its violence and machoism.  Of course, there have long been other gay players in the NFL who have chosen not to reveal their homosexuality.

While Americans take pride in the freedoms of our society, an undercurrent of racism and intolerance persists, rearing its ugly head in random acts of violence and in the dubious statements of right-wing politicians.  We are all free to enjoy the many benefits of American society unless we look suspicious, do not speak English, do not believe in a deity or do not share the rigid beliefs of religious and political zealots.  Fortunately, some individuals, like Michael Sam, have the courage to rise above that intolerance and expose the ignorance that fuels it.