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D. Orlando Ledbetter

Tony Gonzalez impressed by Michael Sam’s courage

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Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez believes Michael Sam will be widely accepted in the NFL.

Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez believes Michael Sam will be widely accepted in the NFL.

In his new position as a television analyst, former Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez will have to develop well-thought out positions on league issues.

CBS has him slated to start out on three shows.

“It will give him a lot of reps, which I think is important for somebody who’s new to the broadcasting world,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have a lot of shows we are involved with at CBS including ‘Inside the NFL’ for Showtime and ‘That Other Pregame Show.’ I think that will be good for him and it will be good for us. That was one of the big selling points.”

CBS Sports had a number of meetings with Gonzalez and had a live audition.

“We pretty much knew what we were getting,” McManus said. “We spent a number of years talking to him. We were committed that when he retired that we were going to try to get a deal done.”

Gonzalez appears ready for the task.

We asked him to share his view of linebacker Michael Sam admitting to being openly gay.

“I think what an unbelievable and courageous kid that he is to be able to come out and do that at this point,” Gonzalez said. “He could have played it safe and say I’m going to go to the league and maybe come out once I get established, but he did it right at the beginning. That takes courage.

“I agree with the President when he said we should judge him on his merits. You have to look yourself in the mirror. Whatever team ends up drafting him, (they will) obviously know what comes with that and then it’s going to be courageous for the team that drafts him and his teammates.

“This is a huge stage. …It’s a great opportunity for everybody involved in the NFL and especially the team that has him.”

He imagines there will be some resistance.

“Only a small minority of players are going to have a problem with this,” Gonzalez said. “That goes without saying. That’s human nature. But those players better accept it and get used to it because it’s coming no matter what. I don’t think it will be that big of a problem.”

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