Michael Sam the Sham
A funny thing happened on the way to Michael Sam just wanting to play football -- and on being judged by his performance on the field and not his sexual orientation. After all, we were told ad nauseam, by Sam and his promoters in the sports media, that this is what Sam is about. If you Google “Michael Sam just wants to play football,” some 67 million results pop up. He also flatly stated that he "wanted to stop talking about his sexual orientation" and "let (his) work on the field speak for itself” in a radio interview, among other places.
Yeah, right. Nothing says that quite like licking icing off the mouth of another dude on national TV. And I’m sure the new Oprah TV series will have nothing to do with sexual orientation either.
In other words, we now know what Michael Sam is a sham. He’s more interested in making a gay political/cultural statement than he is about playing football. (More on this in a minute.) This is fine if that’s his choice, and apparently the pay is quite good -- but please don’t insult us by insisting this is all about football.
So are you shocked? Of course not.
Then again, you’re probably not an ESPN anchor who has tripped all over yourself to make the most melodramatic and slobbering “isn’t this a great moment for America!” comment -- in an obvious attempt to go on the record as having incredible tolerance and humanity. And you’re probably not Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner who is turning the world’s most successful sports enterprise into a public experiment in liberal social engineering. Nor are you the VISA executive who rushed to join the corporate gay pride parade.
Frankly, it’s going to be fun hearing all of the back up beepers from ESPN, the NFL, and the St. Louis Rams in the next few days and weeks. Maybe even VISA and Oprah, too. The day Michael Sam gets cut from the Rams is going to be a media hoot. Trust me, that day is coming. Candidly, my interest here is not Michael Sam or his sexual habits per se. About that, I couldn’t care less and wish I knew less. I am, however, fascinated by this massive ironic and teachable moment about our culture, our media, and the part of the gay community that chooses to be part of an aggressive political/cultural movement. Sam is one of them, and it is Sam and Sam alone who removed images of his upstaging of Jadeveon Clowney on National TV last fall -- and replaced them with “can’t un-see” visions of his obviously staged sugar /carb swap with his suddenly famous squeeze, Vito Cammisano.
Little Vito is not just some innocent design major that Sam happened to bump into at a Starbucks on the Mizzou campus. No, he is known as -- and I’m not making this up -- a “power bottom” in the celebrity gay dating scene. He apparently had a very public affair with a known gay porn star. He and Michael Sam are now a power couple now in such circles. Amazing what you can find out on a search engine.
So what does this say about Sam? Obviously he prioritizes making a pro gay statement over all else. His very choice of significant other screams it. He is dating a gay celebrity, and now he is one too.
And let’s not overlook the fact that the cake kiss moment was far more than just some ewwwww moment. Maybe wizards at ESPN haven’t figured it out yet, but that scene was clearly a carefully crafted in your face celebration aimed at supporters of traditional marriage. What comes to mind is that scene from Oceans Eleven, when George Clooney gets out of prison wearing the disheveled tuxedo and Brad Pitt quips “I hope you were the groom.” Concerning Sam and Vito, such is res ipsa loquitur.
And there’s more. We now know that the deal with Oprah’s network (OWN) was done prior to draft day – and OWN cameras were also in the room with the power couple.
Winfrey gushed this week that, “we are honored that Michael is trusting us with his private journey," oblivious to the paradox that her intent is to make it anything but private, and added, "this moment has not only made history, but will shape (history) forever. It promises to spark a valuable, important discussion on life in America today."
Of course, sparking “a valuable, important discussion on life in America today” is not at all what coach Jeff Fisher and the St. Louis Rams had in mind. I’ll posit with some certitude that Fisher’s buyers remorse started kicking in during the kiss, was ratcheted up when the OUT Games chose his city for their 2016 venue, and then reached something close to critical mass with the public announcement of OWN’s plans for Michael Sam. Now that we know Sam and his agent Cameron Weiss went out of their way not to disclose this ahead of time, Fisher -- a no nonsense guy among his peers -- is surely seething. I’ll reiterate: Michael Sam will be cut by the Rams.
ESPN, the network that above all other networks has sold the Michael Sam story, meanwhile is still in denial. As of this writing, they have downplayed the OWN angle, having but one benign comment about it not being a good decision on their “Cold Hard Facts” segment -- and by playing a sound byte from Weiss about the nondisclosure decision without comment. The back peddling is there, just in the early stages.
As for Oprah’s prediction that this moment will shape history forever, I think she’s right. But she’ll be surprised at the new shape of that history. The Michael Sam experiment has already made it less likely that athletes will now come out of the closet. That is, unless their real agenda is to become well paid gay movement celebrities and not athletes. Which is kind of my point.
America was ready for a black President and a gay football player – but not if that President and that player make it all about their color or their lifestyle. That’s the lesson of the sham of Michael Sam.