Maybe Michael Sam will fit in NFL just fine

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 23, 2014 at 8:49 pm •  Published: February 23, 2014
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Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians downplayed the danger, too.

"None of that matters in the locker room as long as we're all in it to win, and in every locker room I've ever been in it was all about winning. So if you have a hand in us winning and you were different, guys accepted it," Arians said. "Now the fans? That's a different story. I've walked into stadiums where gentlemen are teaching their sons how to moon the bus and moms are teaching their daughters what their middle fingers are for. It's not a ring finger. That scares me more, what's going to be said from the stands and the fans. But the locker room? The locker room won't be a problem."

Sam, who was joined in his situation Sunday when openly gay NBA player Jason Collins signed with the New Jersey Nets to become that league's first openly gay players, said he's not concerned about unruly customers, either.

"I've been getting a lot of great positives from all kinds of fans. And you know when I'm on the field I really don't focus on fans, so I just focus on my responsibilities, which is the guy right across from me," Sam said.

Maybe someday the guy right across from him will be openly gay, too.

"It will get to the stage where it doesn't even need to be announced, like me announcing I'm straight," Memphis punter Tom Hornsey said. "It's being put on a pedestal for being the first one, but I believe as time goes on it will be the norm."

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell commended Sam for his "honesty and courage" after his announcement two weeks ago. The league's competition committee has begun to consider ways to clean up language on the field by policing for racial and sexual slurs.

This multi-billion-dollar business isn't exactly a collection of cavemen, no matter what emerged in Miami.

"We want to be and a culture of respect, communication and laying out that foundation and being intentional about communication throughout the building," Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey said, adding: "We want to set the standard around the league."

___

Online:

AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org



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