I have watched every NFL draft on ESPN since 1987. Every single one. I’ve seen countless players react emotionally with friends and loved ones after getting drafted and realizing a life-long dream.
But I can’t recall ever seeing a player make-out with his girlfriend/wife on camera afterwards, let alone gratuitously with a cake-smash as Michael Sam did with his boyfriend on national television on Sunday — courtesy of ESPN.
It’s one thing to be asked to overlook a player’s personal life and acknowledge his God-given talent and hard work in making it to the NFL. The NFL is hardly a league of saints, so I’m not sure how you can be a football fan and not be willing to make this accommodation.
Michael Sam is a fine football player. He was the defensive player of the year in the best conference in college football, and one of the 1% of youth football players who ever go one to get drafted. His hard work in making it this far should be acknowledged and commended, as it should be for any other player that does as well.
As a football fan I have rooted for players who were shacking up with their girlfriends, cheating on their wives, fathering children out-of-wedlock, or had different religious beliefs than I do. I have also rooted against football players who shared my beliefs and values because they weren’t playing for my preferred team.
However, the difference here is previously sports was a place where we set our differences aside to pursue a common goal — excellence.
There was no “you will be made to care” propaganda involved that made the sports arena the platform for someone’s differences to be imposed on those who disagree. There were no ESPN specials about why we have to accept adultery as normative now, nor is anyone silenced because they disagree with someone fathering children out-of-wedlock. There is no political lobby for those behaviors that seeks to stifle dissent and force you to accept those lifestyles as a condition of enjoying the product.
Now there apparently is.
By showing this gratuitous acting out on national television in a sporting venue, ESPN is clearly attempting to link approval for Sam’s lifestyle choices with enjoying the NFL. That is unfortunate. I disagree with Sam’s moral choices and pray for his eternal soul, but I also went out of my way to avoid stepping on him on the day he was drafted, because my faith commands me to love my neighbor as I love myself. Therefore, I chose to set aside my differences with Sam and not use my national platform as a means to disparage his accomplishment of being drafted.
However, yet again when we turn onto Tolerance Blvd. it’s a one-way street. The propagandists couldn’t restrain themselves, and chose to use accommodation as an excuse to push affirmation. Thus exposing their double-standards all over again.
Would ESPN show a player who stood up after being drafted and read from what the Bible has to say about homosexuality? If after Tim Tebow was drafted he chose to give a call to salvation and pray for our nation’s repentance, would ESPN show that? What if a player had a harem of women surrounding him and wanted to cake-smash makeout with them simultaneously after being drafted? Would ESPN show that?
Just out of curiosity, are there no Christians, Jews, or Muslims at ESPN who are faithful to what their faiths teach about morality and sexuality? Is there nobody of any moral or religious persuasion that is uncomfortable with this display in the whole company? ESPN/Disney is a massive corporate entity, and you expect us to believe that absolutely no one in its structure found this offensive?
Or is it the case that if they did they will be made to care as the rest of us are?
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