Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Adjust your focus

In May of 2014, there was one thing anyone could talk about. It was Michael Sam and the fact that he was the first openly gay NFL player. I was unfazed by the news from start to finish. Some people called me callous for not being proud that he had the courage to be openly gay in an organization like the NFL. I saw many statuses, tweets and overheard people say that people who don't think he's a hero must not support gay rights.

Here's why I didn't care: if our association is football, then what you do sexually has no bearing on my life. There is really only one person on this planet whose sexuality is important to me - Linda, because I'm marrying her. If she turned out to be gay, that would seriously get in the way of our married life. But from family to friends to acquaintances, I really don't care. We scream for equality and then draw lines in the sand.

We don't look at the first tall person to do something because being tall is a non-issue. And being tall could help or hinder your ability and any particular position. Who was the first guy that doesn't like broccoli to be in an elected position? 

Michael Sam is a defensive end on the football field, the only thing any fan should care about. What he does behind closed doors, whether it's love a man, play Xbox, collect stamps, day trade or cook a mean omelet, is of no consequence to anyone. Instead of viewing him as a gay football player, why not view him as a football player? See? No title means no discrimination. 

Here's the really fun part. This guy is 7 weeks into his first season in the NFL and he's been cut from 2 teams. Looks like the only thing that matters to the world - his talent as a DE - doesn't really exist. And what do all the headlines say? Of course "Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team, signed with the Cowboys on..." So many other players get cut from practice squads and nobody bats an eye. But this guy is gay so we need to know. This is not headline making stuff here. This is just a guy who needs to be better at his job. His sexuality has no bearing on any of this. Is your plumber gay? Maybe your accountant is transgender. I'm pretty sure the garbage man is bisexual. See? None of it matters. They're PEOPLE.

So to all the people who champion his cause, I think it's time to adjust your focus. Stop talking about the most intimate part of his life that's outside the boundaries of how you know him. Don't make an issue so you can say there should be no issue. Just say nothing at all and save a step. I'm glad people of all sexualities are getting the rights to do whatever they see fit. That is specifically why I don't make a scene about it. It's how THEY see fit and it's got absolutely nothing to do with me.

It's the same reason why I think that Michael Vick is a shitty human being, but a good quarterback. It's not up to the NFL to punish him; it's up to the legal system. You don't get fired when you get a DUI. So, Vick was taken care of and is back to work. I didn't care what went on in the oval office with a cigar and a blue dress. Maybe that's why he balanced the budget.

So let's focus on people's ability to do whatever thing we've hired them to do and move on with our lives so they can move on with theirs. 

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