Michael Sam is ratcheting up support ahead of next month’s NFL draft.
And it seems the openly gay NFL prospect is taking full advantage of his marketability.
Sam, an All-American defensive end out of Missouri, took to Twitter Friday afternoon to help direct supporters to his official website, where they can buy “Stand with Sam” rainbow buttons and t-shirts.
— Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) March 8, 2014
According to multiple reports, a portion of the proceeds will go to at-risk youth in the St. Louis area.
The rest of the proceeds – possibly most of the cash – will go to, well, we’ll let you be the judge.
Is it OK? Absolutely. Sam can market himself however he wants.
It is a little bizarre, however, seeing as it was just last month at the NFL’s Combine that he told reporters they shouldn’t look at him as “Michael Sam: The gay football player.”
“I wish you guys would just say, ‘Michael Sam, how’s football going? How’s training going?’ I would love for you to ask me that question,” Sam told reporters in Indianapolis.
“I just wish you guys would just see me as Michael Sam the football player, instead of Michael Sam the gay football player.”
Cue the applause.
It’s what you’d expect an openly gay athlete to say. It’s what most of us think. If you can play, you can play.
That said, it’s hard to buy what Sam’s saying when he’s asking fans to buy these.
Now then, maybe Sam has come around since making those earlier statements.
To that end, there’s nothing wrong with Sam promoting himself as the first openly gay NFLer.
And, in return, it’s OK to label him as such. It will do more to encourage equality in professional sports than the “nothing to see here” mentality some will inevitably promote.