That fact was made clear when, according to USA Today Sports, Sam actually posted worse numbers in the 40-yard dash than he did at the rookie combine..
I also predicted that Sam’s agreement to go on “DWTS” would solidify once and for all the irrefutable fact that he was not a football player. He was a media creation dedicated more to advancing his celebrity than advancing to the NFL.
This too was borne out. According to TMZ Sports, an NFL scout at the veteran’s combine was concerned about Sam’s attitude.
“He thinks he’s a superstar” according to the report. “It would be nice if he could do something on the field to back up the attitude.”
Hmm, I wonder where Michael Sam could have gotten the impression that he was a “superstar?” Maybe after months of fawning praise from the sports media for doing nothing more than presenting himself as the first openly gay football player, Sam came to believe that his homosexuality made him a superstar.
I’m not here to credit myself for calling out Michael Sam as more activist than football player. I’m here to blame the sports media. Because, you own this. You own Michael Sam’s fall from grace.
The sports media didn’t make Sam a short, slow tweener and a bad scheme fit for an NFL defense. It was more sinister than that. They made him unlikeable. In their zeal to turn Sam into the gay Jackie Robinson, they made him arrogant. They took a likeable kid and made him a diva with the sense of entitlement that drives NFL-types nuts.
If the New York Times had been honest about where Sam stood in the draft, as opposed to saying he was “projected to be drafted in the early rounds,” something no scout worth anything believed, then maybe the entitlement wouldn’t have set in. If Sam hadn’t been told he was making “incredibly brave decisions” and “breaking longstanding barriers,” the arrogance might not have taken root. Perhaps if ESPN hadn’t shown Sam kissing his boyfriend on a loop for 87 hours, Sam would have seen himself as more football player than gay man.
However, the sports media couldn’t help themselves. As CBS’ Greg Doyell admitted, in Michael Sam “the mostly liberal media has a story that we find not just fascinating, but inspiring. And we’re going to write about Michael Sam as much as we can … because it’s so fun and new and progressive.”
And write they did. Yet, Doyell’s breathtaking honesty included a warning:
“… at some point you have to wonder if the overexposure that killed the career of Tim Tebow will do the same to Michael Sam.”
Did it? No. Michael Sam isn’t an exceptional athlete. That’s why he doesn’t have a job. But Sam could have still been a hero to the gay rights agenda that the liberal sports media finds so “fun and new and progressive” if he had just remained sympathetic, or likeable. But that’s over now, and as for the liberal sports media?
You built that.
Dylan Gwinn is the author of Bias in the Booth: An Insider Exposes How the Sports Media Distort The News and a longtime sports talk radio host.