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Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel with players Robert Luce (from left) and Michael Sam, ahead of the Cotton Bowl in January. (AP)

Michael Sam, A Distraction? Please

Feb 19, 2014 (Morning Edition)

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Now that Michael Sam, an NFL draft prospect, has announced that he is gay, there's been a lot of mumbling that he would be a distraction — but it's really an issue of antipathy.

What some are saying, in coded language, is that too many players and fans would hate Michael Sam because he's gay, and the media will pounce on this, and that would be bad for his team and hence for the NFL.

We're talking here about NFL teams where bullies, wife beaters, racists, bounty hunters and other assorted ugly ruffians assemble. Some homophobes, too? Sure. But to suggest that, in this company, the presence of one young gay man in the showers would somehow be more than this motley crew could stomach — that's downright ludicrous.

Click on the audio link above to hear more of Deford's take on this issue.

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