Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, got his second chance on Wednesday as the Dallas Cowboys officially announced the signing of Sam to the 10-man practice squad. Although Sam isn’t expected to be on the active roster for Sunday’s opener against the San Francisco 49ers, one anti-gay lobbyist is not happy that the Cowboys are even giving an openly gay player the opportunity to be apart of the team.
Top D.C. lobbyist Jack Burkman has organized a rally on Sunday and has urged thousands of right wing Christians to demonstrate in Arlington to protest the Cowboys signing of Michael Sam to the practice squad. Burkman is holding Cowboys owner Jerry Jones accountable for what he perceives as a moral decay with the signing.
In a press release, Burkman says, “Jerry Jones has betrayed American values, Christian values, and his own city’s values. The people of Dallas – and Christians all across this land – are about to make him pay a huge financial price. The Cowboys are no longer America’s team.”
The protest and opposition against openly gay athletes isn’t surprising for someone like Burkman. He has been on Capitol Hill pushing legislation that would ban openly gay athletes from playing in the NFL. This is also not the first time Sam has faced protest. Members of the Westboro Baptist Church organized a protest against Sam at a University of Missouri basketball game back in February. Students formed a human wall to block the group and show their support of Sam.
Despite the protest and any other potential outside distraction, Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett said the team is just focused on football with the signing. He said Wednesday, “We just want to give him a chance to come in and help our football team. That’s where our attention is (football). What people say outside the organization is up to them.”