Citing the reaction of Michael Sam’s University of Missouri teammates to his coming out as gay, Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin believes the prospect shouldn’t have too much of a problem being accepted into an NFL locker room. Irvin offered the opinion on a recent episode of the Arsenio Hall Show.
Sam, the 2013 SEC co-defensive Player of the Year, came out to his teammates at Mizzou before last season. But no one in the public knew until last Sunday, when he came out in an interview on ESPN.
“The college athletes at Mizzou, they handled it perfectly,” Irvin said, via the Dallas Morning News. “He told them before the season. In the SEC, you never heard about this. The very definition of a locker room is saying, ‘Hey man, I got your back. You can count on me. I give you my word.’ And that’s exactly what those guys did. They had his back, they counted on him. I think that’s what gave him the strength to come forward. Now, I would hate to think grown men in an NFL locker room are going to be less mature than those kids in college.”
From a more business-centric standpoint, Irvin believes Sam’s announcement might actually help his draft stock.
“There is no way on God’s green earth that the NFL wants him sitting there tick, tock, tick, tock, and not get drafted,” Irvin said. “They don’t want that. They do not want that. So trust me, I believe this may help him way more than hurt him.”
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