LOS ANGELES, February 12, 2014 — In a shocking announcement that rocked the football world and upset the entire order of the 2014 NFL Draft, Missouri Tigers defensive standout Michael Sam admitted to being black.
Michael Sam has been black his entire life, but was tired of keeping his life secret. Teammates had suspected this for quite some time, and he wanted to confirm the news and put the swirling rumors to rest.
Sam also announced that he had two first names and zero last name. Although this was once cause for derision and suspicion, the success of Tom Brady has removed some of that stigma.
Brady is white, leaving the question of whether one could succeed in the NFL while being black and having multiple first names without a last name. Minnesota Vikings legend Jim Marshall helped break the barrier. The 1986 New York Giants won with an entire defense made up of people with only first names, including Leonard Marshall, Jim Burt, Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson.
As for the 1972 Miami Dolphins, they became the only undefeated team without first names either, much less last names. The “No-name Defense” made football history.
Real football fans will not care whether Michael Sam is Sean Penn’s “I am Sam” or Dr. Seuss’s “Sam I am.” They will not care if he is Toucan Sam or the Son of Sam. They will not care if he shops at Sam’s Club or Sam Goody’s.
This is because the National Football League is not about a man named Michael or Sam, or even a boy named Sue. It is about a guy named Vince.
Vince. As in Vince Lombardi. Lombardi, as in the Lombardi Trophy.
Lombardi was once told he could not be a football coach because his last name “ended in a vowel.” The proud Italian-American dedicated his life to winning football games, condemning all bigotry every step of the way. When one of his black players wanted to marry a white woman, Lombardi gave his blessing. That was in 1958, before integration.
Lombardi’s brother was gay, and Lombardi loved him all the same. Lombardi would be fine with a gay football player, ending the discussion for anybody else who did not win five NFL championships and have a trophy named in their honor.
Lombardi would have hired Toucan Sam if the bird could block like Jerry Kramer when running the famous Green Bay Packers sweep.
As Dave Casper once noted after being traded from the Oakland Raiders to the Houston Oilers, his new team seemed to run and jump and do all the things football players do.
Michael Sam seems to be able to run and jump and do all of the things football players do. He seems to do it better than most college players, which is why he will be an NFL football player.
While there is a brief period to consider his career noteworthy, the goal is to eventually just see him run and jump better than most and sack plenty of quarterbacks on the way to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
The NFL is ready for Michael Sam, even if he is black with two first names and no last name.
Oh, and Sam is also gay.