There are many facets and levels to Michael Sam‘s game-changing revelation this past weekend that will continue to reveal themselves as the discussion of gays in sports moves forward.
Case in point? James Franklin.
Franklin was Missouri’s starting quarterback during most of Sam’s time with the football program and was one of the teammates to whom the defensive lineman came out during summer camp last August. The picture painted by the program’s head coach and the university’s athletic director was that it was all puppy dogs and unicorns following Sam’s announcement of his homosexuality, with Gary Pinkel stating that he took “great pride in how Michael and everyone in our program handled his situation.”
Almost immediately after Sam publicly came out as being gay, former Mizzou tight end and Sam’s roommate Eric Waters called out his former teammates on Twitter, writing that “[h]alf y’all posting these pics saying how proud you are… [were] the ones talkin s**t behind his back in the locker room.”
The deeply-religious Franklin — those beliefs were the subplot of a controversy two seasons ago — was asked by TMZ.com of all places about Sam, who will likely become the first active, openly-gay player in the NFL. Franklin, as has ofttimes been the case, minced no words.
“I don’t drink. I don’t curse. I don’t support [homosexuality] — but it doesn’t mean I don’t accept Michael,” Franklin says.
When asked if he was supportive of Sam when he made his announcement in August, Franklin said … “I wouldn’t say supportive, but accepting. A lot of people confuse supporting and accepting.”
In an interview with the Columbia Missourian, Franklin added some context to his comments that appeared on TMZ.
“I grew up to say, ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘yes, sir,'” Franklin said. “You know the saying, ‘hate the sin, not the sinner.’ I was raised a certain way — like I don’t to drink and swear.”
“But I would not look down on anyone for what they choose to do in their personal life,” Franklin, whose father is an evangelical minister, continued. “I love Michael (Sam) and will always be there for him.”
Again, multiple layers and myriad facets still to come — as even those close to Sam are still finding out and processing and coming to grips with.
(Tip O’ the Cap: CFB247.com)