As a Teen Mentor, I have written frequently about the concept of Unconditional Support and showing that support to your teen no matter what. Again, that does not always mean you agree with the decisions your kiddo has made; however, you are showing that you support him/her come what may.
Unfortunately, in the case of Michael Sam, Jr., a Defensive End for the University of Missouri Tiger Football Program who revealed this week that he is gay, one of the people who should be closest to him has reacted rather negatively to the news.
In the grand scheme of the world, I do not have a ton of faith in the word, “should”. All kinds of things happen that “should” not, and all kinds of things do not happen that “should”. It’s a tragic reality of life.
In this particular case, Michael Sam, Jr., revealed to the public that he is gay, and this was his father’s reaction after his son texted him, “Dad, I’m gay.” He was at Denny’s to celebrate his birthday but, “couldn’t eat no more… so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks” (The Kansas City Star B5). He had the audacity to tell, The New York Times, “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind environment.”
Since that interview, Sam, Sr., has refuted some of his statements to, The Galveston Daily News (O’Learly 1).
"’My son did the right thing, and I am not against him at all. He has made a great statement in coming out, and that he should be able to play in the NFL. I love him unconditionally,’ Sam Sr. says in the piece. ‘Once he gets on the field and hits (someone) once, they won't think he's gay’” (O’Learly 1).
Well, that statement still does not erase the alleged hurtful words he may have said. Even this latest statement still implies that once Sam, Jr., makes a hit, it will be proof that he is not gay. Denial?
Thankfully, not all of the reactions are so negative. Jets defensive lineman, Sheldon Richardson, who was a former roommate of Michael Sam, Jr., says he is proud of Sam for revealing that he is gay and that the NFL would welcome him onto a team (The Kansas City Star B5).
“Richardson, the AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, told New York’s SNY cable network that Sam never came out to him, but ‘you knew, you saw him. Richardson adds that he didn’t care about Sam’s sexuality saying, ‘he was my guy, my homeboy’” (The Kansas City Star B5).
As a Teen Mentor, let us hope that Michael Sam, Jr.’s, announcement will be met with acceptance and support.
O’Learly, Daniel. “Michael Sam’s Father Says He Was ‘Terribly Misquoted’ by New York Times, but Newspaper Stands by Quotes: Report.” The New York Daily News. Feb. 13, 2014.
Star News Services. “Sam’s Father Was Upset by News.” The Kansas City Star. Feb. 12, 2014: Pg. B5.