On the day of the NFL draft I was at a friend’s house celebrating the college graduation of a male relative. There was a lot of male energy in the house. Everyone was having a great time. All of a sudden I heard a shout “Oh No.” I wondered what could have happened. One of the “old heads” (as a matter of fact this man was close to my age) came running up the stairs to tell us that Michael Sam had been drafted in the seventh and last round of the draft by the St. Louis Rams and when Sam heard the news he kissed his boyfriend/partner right in the mouth. So the shout wasn’t about who was drafted and when, but about what he did when he got the news.
Thanks to the modern technology of 2014, yes this is 2014, we were able to do our own instant replay. Now everyone, men and women in the room, could see him kiss his partner several times and embrace as any couple would when they receive good news. There were also some young male children watching the draft, but paying very close attention to the reaction of the adult males. The kids began to shake their heads and exclaim “yuk” and “how could he.” I have seen kids this age react the very same way when a man and a woman kiss. You know at a certain age little boys think girls are just horrible.
As far as the kiss between the two men, I really didn’t know what to think. This was nothing new for me. In the world of fashion and theater I’ve seen men kiss each other, so no big deal. The first thought that came to mind was what a new world we are living in. An openly gay Black male drafted into the NFL kisses his White male boyfriend on national television and not another Black person in the room.
I didn’t really realize the Whiteness of the room until it was mentioned that next Monday morning on the Ricky Smiley Morning show. They spent a good portion of the morning getting reaction from their listeners who watched the draft or saw the replay.
One man said he would feel better if Sam had a Black girlfriend as a cover, keep it in the closet. Others pointed out that ESPN was invited into Sam’s home. Now we all know why they picked his home to camp out in; if Sam was selected, and lucky for them he was, they would have footage that would be a ratings mammoth.
One radio news anchor says gay people should kiss more often in public so it wouldn’t be such a big deal to straight people. In theory that sounds good, but there are still a lot of people who subscribe to “don’t ask, don’t tell” and “keep it in the closet.”
What a wonderful world it would be if everyone could be who they are without being judged and public displays of affection would not be frowned on by anyone.
(Email the columnist at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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