Not Great But Very Good - The Missourian: Opinion

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Not Great But Very Good

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Posted: Friday, February 14, 2014 2:56 pm | Updated: 2:59 pm, Fri Feb 14, 2014.

We are still trying to digest all of the publicity about the gay football player at the University of Missouri. Maybe it’s the generational gap we are in, but while he was a top defensive player in college that doesn’t mean he will be all that great in professional football. To make it in the pros, a player must have a high hunger level. Many good football players in college failed in pro football because the hunger element wasn’t at a high enough level. It’s the same in all pro sports — gotta have hunger to excel.

It appears there was a general assumption that the gay MU football player, Michael Sam, would go very high in the draft, and for that reason his announcement that he was gay was national news. No NFL pro has announced he is gay. That had much to do with the publicity given to Sam.

The experts who study college athletes as to their potential to make it in the pro ranks, overall recognize that he is “good” but not “great.” He has the potential to make it as a pro, but there are countless pro players who at various stages in their careers are ranked as “great” and you don’t belong in that circle until proof on the field is demonstrated. Is Sam overrated as a player? Only time will answer that question.

We heard a comment from a fan that Sam’s announcement “will cost him millions” of dollars because his standing has dropped, and, frankly, some teams aren’t going to be interested in him.

Other comments we’ve heard is that he will be a marked player in the pro league. There are veteran players who don’t like gays. Emotions are very much a part of the game, especially as to how physical it is. Many players have strong religious beliefs that are counter to gay lifestyles. Their coaches know that along with team owners.

The White House may have embraced him for his announcement, but that was true to form for the main occupants, and that wasn’t an enhancement for him as to his draft standing.

Has Sam hurt his chances of being drafted, that is, as to which round he will be taken? He certainly hasn’t improved his prospects.

The timing of his announcement is puzzling except that word about him was getting out about his lifestyle.

He may have believed he might as well go public since the word was getting around. He had told his teammates before the start of his last season about being gay.

It almost seems that some of the publications that are making him a hero of sorts have overplayed the significance of this. Many people are calling it “overkill.” We recognize that it’s politically incorrect to be critical of gays, and we are aware of what some people think of that stance, and have just as strong feelings as those who embrace that lifestyle.

We believe some team will draft him. We don’t know how well he will perform. Remember veteran pro experts who know their business have called him a “good” player but not a “great” player. Some “good” college players have matured in the pro game to the status of “great.” Then there’s that hunger factor! How hungry is he to make it in the pros?

/opinion

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