By Ran Aubrey Frazier
Originally published on Advocate.com February 13 2014 5:42 PM ET
Dallas sports anchor Dale Hansen has some choice words for the NFL officials who spoke anonymously — and negatively — to Sports Illustrated about Michael Sam's coming-out.
In a segment of his "Hansen Unplugged" feature Monday night called "Celebrating Our Differences," Hansen skewered those anonymous critics who condemned Sam in the article, which was posted online Sunday evening.
In the Sports Illustrated piece, a veteran NFL scout proclaimed, "I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down," while an assistant coach in the league said Sam's decision was "not a smart move" and "legitimately affects [his] potential earnings." The assistant coach speculated as to whether athletes had the "maturity" and sensitivity to accommodate a gay player in their locker rooms, stating, "If you knowingly bring someone in there with that sexual orientation, how are the other guys going to deal with it? It's going to be a big distraction. That's the reality."
Hansen, sports anchor for Dallas–Fort Worth's WFAA, blasted those remarks, pointing to a litany of offenses that are tolerated, if not ignored, by NFL execs in their draft picks, including domestic abuse allegations, DUIs, and rape accusations.
"You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft," he said. "You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that. You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!"
Hansen further noted, "It wasn't that long ago that we were being told that black players couldn't play in our games because it would be uncomfortable. And even when they finally could, it took several more years before a black man played quarterback because we weren't comfortable with that either."
Alluding to lesbian poet and civil rights activist Audre Lorde's call for us to celebrate differences, Hansen concluded, with respect to Michael Sam, "I do think it is time to celebrate him now."