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Texas Rangers great Michael Young retires from baseball at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Jan. 31, 2014.
With the news coming out on Sunday night that reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam coming out as gay, the questions have been asked ever since. Surely there have been others, and there most likely are others playing in the NFL right now, though Sam will be the only active openly gay football player.
In fact, Sam will be the only active gay player in any of the major American sports if he makes an NFL team (which he should). Speaking to 103.3 FM ESPN Radio on Monday, former Ranger Michael Young spoke about the idea of playing with and sharing a clubhouse with a gay athlete, and responded just like you'd expect Young to.
"Obviously this has nothing to do with creating a winning environment and if a college program can pull it off you’d like to think a bunch of paid professionals can do the same," Young told the radio station. "For me it comes down to, ‘Can this guy helps us win? Is he a winning piece? Can he execute on the field and be a good teammate in the locker room?’ I’d like to think it wouldn’t be an issue at all, and all the teams I played on I know it definitely wouldn’t have been an issue. It would’ve come down to, ‘Is this guy accountable? Is he responsible? Is he willing to have his teammates’ backs? Can he go out there and do his job well?’
Young also made a good point on Sam, saying if someone is mentally strong and tough enough to do what he's done, he might actually make a pretty darn good teammate.
“I’d like to think if a player is comfortable being himself he’s going to be a better player on the field," Young said. "Obviously one big, huge thing lifted off his shoulders and the next thing you know he can take it to the next level.”