Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Disagreeing With Jeffrey Goldberg's Analogy

On twitter came this tweet from Jeffrey Goldberg, national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine on Sunday night after Michael Sam, NFL pro prospect up for the 2014 NFL draft, announced that he was gay.  While I disagree with many of Goldberg's assessments, I find him to be a thoughtful and interesting journalist.  I happen to disagree with this thought of his in the following tweet he sent:

Michael Sam has provided some smart, and lucky, NFL executive with a chance to be remembered the way Branch Rickey is remembered.

I wish to dispute that statement on two fronts. 1.It would not be ground breaking like Branch Rickey's gutsy move to sign Jackie Robinson was.  2. It diminishes the impact, heart, and courage that Jackie Robinson showed in signing with the MLB Brooklyn Dodgers.

Branch Rickey
1.  Branch Rickey, signed Jackie Robinson at a time when there were no blacks in Major League Baseball.   Blacks were not allowed.  There has been no policy, de jure or de facto that has kept gays from playing in the NFL.  It is known that there have been gays playing in the NFL.  In Houston local sports radio on 610 am, Seth Payne former player for the Houston Texans in the NFL, said that his roommate [when they travel to other cities] was gay [which would be confirmed by him after his career].  He said he himself knew of at least four NFL players who were gay.  So, gays not only have not been banned from the NFL like blacks were in MLB, there have been gays who have already played in the NFL.  So, an owner and a team that draft and sign Sam would not be gutsy or be making a ground breaking move like Branch Rickey did.  Plus, Branch Rickey was excoriated by many of his fellow owners and players on the other MLB teams for signing Jackie Robinson.  The same will not happen to whatever team drafts Sam.  In fact, you can already tell, not only won't they be excoriated but they will be praised for their move by most of the media.  A big difference in what Rickey had to go through.

American hero Jackie Robinson
2.  At the time Jackie Robinson signed with the Dodgers [1947], segregation and worse was still prevalent in much of America, and it took guts for Mr. Robinson to sign with the MLB team.  Today it is a totally different situation than in 1947 for African Americans and gays.  So, it is not analogous to compare Michael Sam signing as an openly gay man in the 21st century, to Jackie Robinson, an African American, signing in the year 1947.  Before Sam came out of the closet, many may not have known or cared that Sam was gay.  There was no closet for Jackie Robinson to hide in.  Jackie Robinson had to deal with death threats, being spat upon, and vicious racial slurs being hailed his way.  Jackie Robinson must have always been looking behind his back to wonder if violence would have been thrust upon him or his gracious wife, Rachel.  Think of the pressure on him.  This was a man of courage and strength to go through what he went through during that time in America's history.  Please, Jeffrey, do not diminish Jackie Robinson's great courage by comparing Jackie Robinson's playing Major League Baseball at the time he did, to Michael Sam's playing in the NFL today.  The two situations are not even close to being comparable.

In doing this post I hope it is not thought I am gay bashing.  Bigotry against gays is just as bad as bigotry against anyone else.  Any team owner that is in the need of a Michael Sam and if he is the best player in the draft at their team's time to pick, and does not take him because he is gay, is a fool and is stupid.  On the other hand, any team owner that does not need Michael Sam at the time they are drafting, yet takes him just because he is gay, is also a fool and is stupid.

While I do not consider Michael Sam to be a hero or courageous in the way that I do consider Jackie Robinson to be, I wish him all the best in his NFL career and I also wish him the best happiness for his life.


bradley said...

i agree completely--- racism and hate was rampant and universal in the 40's and 50's, whereas today , in general, gays do not face widespread abuse, they can choose to be open or closed about their lifestyle (blacks couldn't hide their skin color from the racists that they encountered!), and are welcome by such a greater majority into all facets of life much much more than blacks were before the civil rights movement.

Big Mike said...

Great points Bradley!! Thanks for those comments!!

88keyman said...

The whole point of the homsexual/black analogy is to suggest that homosexuals are the next civil rights victims and therefore that 1) their radical cause must be just, as the black civil rights cause in its day was just, and 2) that every homosexual demand -- e.g. "same-sex marriage" -- is both inevitable (in order to make opponents feel resigned) and beyond debate. If radical leftists have a signature m.o., it is to try to win arguments without having to actually make any. They do that with their global warming/climate change obsession and with the even more bizarre idea that it's perfectly normal -- and laudable -- for men who lust after other men to make public "announcements" instead of living their lives (nobody really cares) and just leaving the rest of us alone.

Big Mike said...

Exactly keyman. Also as someone who is in an inter racial marriage it is an insult to those who compare same sex marriage to inter-racial marriage-sorry there is no comparison.
Then you have Michelle Obama saying Sam is an inspiration to everyone. Why Michelle? And by the way speak for yourself-don't speak for me.