I’m not sure that Louis Armstrong wrote his well known song “As Time Goes By” to be prophetic. In fact, the line about a “woman needs man” pretty much tells us he didn’t, but in the aftermath of NFL draftee Michael Sam’s kiss with his male partner on national TV, much of the song sounds like it may know more than we originally thought.
You must remember this,
A kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh
Oh, there was outrage among some. There were judgmental, hateful comments all over social media. They came not just from some of the sources you might expect that have always been vocally opposed to alternative sexualities. They also came from current and past athletes. They came from people in all walks of life.
Social media is, like so many things, a blessing and a curse. In some ways it has opened up the world, allowed us to be closely connected, and given many people a voice. But the flip side is that it also gives a voice to those whom we don’t agree with. The reactions highlight how far we have to go.
That no one can deny
it’s still the same old story
A fight for love and glory
A case of do or die
The world will always welcome lovers
As time goes by
And time has gone by. Despite the unaccepting response of some, there was amazing support from others. Like my favorite Tweet in response to those comments, made by Andy Kerman – “How do I explain Michael Sam to my kids? A man with TWO first names?”
The mere fact that it happened is evidence of how much things have changed. A college football player acknowledging he was gay and that his college team was aware and had been supported. That player being drafted by an NFL team. Being allowed to have his same-sex partner at the draft and kissing him on national television.
It is hard to imagine those things happening just a few years ago. It was just months ago that rumors swirled that a current NFL player would reveal that he was gay. It didn’t happen and speculation was that the response to the rumor was so intense that it caused a change of heart about making the revelation.
This event happened in a bastion of traditional manhood where strength and fortitude are necessary components of success. And what this event shows us is that manhood doesn’t have to be traditional. That a man can have those traits and his sexuality doesn’t diminish them. It shows that being a man can be defined in different ways.
Congratulations to the St. Louis Ram’s for drafting Sam. Congratulations to ESPN for taking such an accepting position. Congratulations to everyone that has condemned the hateful comments that have followed.
But most of all, congratulations to Michael Sam for being drafted and thank you for being strong enough to be yourself.