Conservative radio host Michael Brown has controversially claimed that future NFL star Michael Sam’s decision to come out as gay was “selfish”.
The Missouri defensive tackle revealed his sexuality last weekend - and was widely praised for showing immense courage ahead of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Sam is expected to be signed by an NFL side, which would make him the first openly gay player in the sport.
However, his decision to come out hasn’t impressed everyone. Brown believes Sam’s announcement could damage his next team’s “synergy”, while his future teammates might be made to feel uncomfortable “walking around naked” in the presence of a gay man in a locker room.
"Looked at from another angle, it was more of a selfish act, and not only in the sense that Sam is suddenly a national celebrity," Brown wrote on the website Townhall. "Sam has now put his own desires – wanting to be out and proud- above the team, saying to everyone else, ‘Whether you’re uncomfortable or not, and whether this helps the team’s synergy or not, this is who I am’.”
"Certainly, any player who admitted to being uncomfortable in the locker room with Michael Sam would be branded homophobic, but can a male athlete in the prime of physical life be faulted if he feels uncomfortable walking around naked in the presence of another gay athlete?
"And since NFL players are hardly known for their sexual purity – with many notable exceptions – is it homophobic to think that Sam’s hormones might be raging for men the way the other players’ hormones rage for women?"
Needless to say, Brown’s reaction has been widely criticised, and the hope is that more athletes will still feel comfortable following Sam’s lead in the future.