At the 2014 ESPY’s, Michael Sam received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. What did Michael Sam do to earn this prestigious award? Did he overcome shredding the ACL’s in both his knees and go on to compete at Wimbledon? Did he overcome stomach cancer and return to the Yankees? Did he escape poverty in a rural Madagascar and become the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars? No, he did none of those things. He received the award simply for being gay.
He gave a tearful acceptance speech, in which he spoke highly of his own bravery. The bravery of a being gay man in a homophobic society. He cited how much love and support has come his way since he decided to out himself in the lead-up to the NFL Combine. He invoked the banal quote of Arthur Ashe, “Start where you are, use what you have and do what you can,” to explain his internal struggle over his desire for his own flesh.
It is beyond apparent that with the Richie Incognito debacle and now with Michael Sam, these stories are given the light of day to pierce the veil of male locker rooms. Female reporters have been pushing for decades to enter the place where men shower and dress and the fawning over Michael Sam is part of this drive. The preoccupation with his gayness and his teammates acceptance of that is a way of claiming control over male-only spaces. Female empowerment, stopping bullying and gay acceptance are all part of the same push to eradicate privacy and gave media even more control over the sporting world.
Those considerations aside, more troublesome is that hasn’t caught any hate or intolerance for being gay and ESPN passed on a more deserving man. Michael Sam said that his teammates accepted him, his coaches accepted him and he wasn’t subjected to verbal or physical assault. Most importantly, his parents accepted him and said they love him regardless. The story seems to be how much everybody loves Michael Sam. No one called him a fag and kicked him in the ballsack. He has suffered nothing for slashing swords with other dudes and, yet, I’m supposed to see him as this oppressed and brave man?
If anything, he has gained immensely from being gay. He is easily the most famous 7th-round draft ever who has never stepped onto the playing field. He most likely will get a book deal, will get numerous endorsement deals if he makes the Rams and will always be able to count on a team picking him up for politically correct reasons for the next couple years. Just by being born gay, he has already gained so much. He said himself he is surrounded by love and acceptance and given all the unearned privileges he has gotten from being gay, this man is not brave at all. He most likely has the inner steel of an insecure preschooler.
Yet, that isn’t the most offensive aspect of this public spectacle. ESPN anchor, Stuart Scott, has been battling cancer since 2007. Despite this, he has continued to work hard and has proven to be one of the best anchors on ESPN. He has made no excuses for himself and has comported himself like a true man: battling on despite the odds. In fact, Scott was unsure of his ability to attend this year’s ESPY’s because of the surgeries had earlier in the week.
Despite his clear acts of bravery, ESPN chose to hand the award to a mollycoddled homosexual 7th round draft pick. While ESPN did recognize Scott with an award, the ESPY’s clearly revolved around Sam and his power bottom boyfriend. Onlookers were supposed to awed with a gay man “bravely” coming out in 2014, when he knew everybody in his life approved and he had to know that he would valorized and praised in major media outlets for sucking dick. They passed on giving the bravery award to a man who has battled cancer for over half a decade and has done nothing but accept it and continue to work hard has a father, a husband and a working man.
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