Michael Sam has had his share of media attention this year, both this summer as a member of the St. Louis Rams during the preseason, and certainly on draft weekend, when, as he the 249th overall pick, he become the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team. But lately, the news about Sam’s progress as a member of the Dallas Cowboys practice squad has been nearly nonexistent, and many — like USA Today’s Nancy Armour — say that’s a good thing.
Soon after Sam was picked up by the Cowboys, Dallas felt the swarm of media attention that, to be fair, isn’t unfamiliar territory for the team. Sam even commented on the flock of reporters following him in early September, telling a group of them after a late-morning workout, “I’ve been tired of [the media attention] since February,” adding, “I’ve expected it.” But that very day, head coach Jason Garrett stressed to reporters that the team’s interest in Michael Sam was exclusively on the football field. “That’s your decision what question you want to ask,” Garrett told reporters. “We’re focused on football. That’s where our attention is, and what people say outside this organization is really up to them.”
Sunday, after the Cowboys roundly defeated the New York Giants, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told Armour, “It’s a dead issue. A dead issue,” when asked about Michael Sam’s sexual orientation and the infamous “distraction” that some media outlets have alleged his presence may cause. Once again, the Cowboys seem to be more set on winning football games, which is something they have done quite handedly this season. For now, as Sam fans await his first regular season NFL game, no news about an openly gay man playing pro football in Texas may just be good news.
“Sam is hardly the NFL's first gay player, just as Jason Collins wasn't the first gay player in the NBA,” Armour writes. “They're just the first ones to be open about it during their careers. But Sam has insisted since coming out that he wants nothing more than to be treated as a football player — not a gay football player, a football player. And that's exactly what the Cowboys and their fans have done.”