Posted: 3:43 pm Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Smith believes NFL players would respect Sam as an openly gay player 

By D. Orlando Ledbetter

Falcons coach Mike Smith at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

Falcons coach Mike Smith at the NFL scouting combine. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/dledbetter@ajc.com)

INDIANAPOLIS – Falcons coach Mike Smith, as head coach of the North team in the Senior Bowl, is an authority on defensive end/linebacker Michael Sam, who recently announced that he’s a gay football player.

Smith was asked about Sam the football player and how an openly gay player would fit in a NFL locker room.

“First and foremost, when you evaluate a football player, you evaluate them on what you see on the field,” Smith said on Thursday. “A player’s personal life is not something that you concern yourself with. You are evaluating the player.”

The Falcons worked out Sam, the SEC’s co-defensive player of the year, as a defensive end and linebacker at the Senior Bowl.

“He played defensive end at the University of Missouri,” Smith said. “He was co-defensive player of the year at that position. We got an opportunity to see him do both positions. He was much more comfortable playing the defensive end position, but there are a number of teams that have projected him as an outside linebacker.

“I know that he is more comfortable with playing with his hand in the dirt. We, as a coaching staff, moved him from both defensive end and outside linebacker in that game simply because we knew the entire league wanted to evaluate him as OLB or a defensive end.”

Smith shared his view of the NFL locker room and how Sam might fit.

“The locker room, I believe this, you win in the locker room,” Smith said. “Every locker room has to have the element of respect. You have to respect one another. It’s all about winning. We get 16 opportunities to show what we are capable of doing. If a guy can come in a help us win football games, that’s all we can concern ourselves with.”

Sam would likely fit in the Falcons locker room.

“I know this, our locker room is built on respect and respect for one another,” Smith said. “That’s the most important thing. I think that you (must) have mentors throughout the locker room.

“It’s not just the players’ locker room. It’s the organization’s locker room. There are a lot of people who interact in the locker room besides the players in Atlanta. You have the equipment staff, the training staff, the (public relations) staff and the coaching staff.”

23 comments
A_Realist
A_Realist

I am amazed at some of the comments because there have been "GAY PLAYERS" in the NFL for years. This is not new. The players all know who they are...it's not a big mystery. The only difference is that Sam has openly stated that HE IS GAY. Sam won't be the first gay NFL player and he definitely won't be the last. 


I personally know a former NFL player that would return each year during the off-season to his home town where he'd ride around town in his convertible Benz with his boyfriend/partner in tow.


Everybody knew the deal but nobody cared because he was well respected in the community because of his athletic ability, likability, integrity, charitable causes/giving back to the community (several million), etc.....again the majority of folks in this southern city didn't care what he did in the confines of his private life but anyone with common sense knew what the real deal was and he was a very successful NFL DB starter for several years playing for a top 10 NFL team.


NEWSFLASH: The Falcons have had gay players in the past too......YEP!!!!!....Being able to make it rain at Magic City and/or the Pink Pony doesn't always mean the participant is hetero ....ever heard of the DL (Down Low)?????


The Martin, Incognito, Pouncey, etc Miami Dolphins situation is going to force the NFL to address the locker room environment because there are human resources (federal, state and local) laws that govern what is and is not acceptable in a workplace. The locker room culture is about to change because the NFL doesn't want the negative publicity nor potential lawsuits. It's all about protecting the cash flow and the perception of the league.

WeRunTheEast
WeRunTheEast

Football is a physical game where you try to defeat, dominate your opponent, make them quit. If you can make them quit just by using words, all the better. Sam will get a abused verbally, as he should. Anything that can be used against you will be used against you, that is the way it is. He will be drafted by NE, SF, or SanDiego, not where his drafting by a team will alienate fans.

And if Sam is to be "respected as an openly gay player", shouldn't heterosexuals be respected for not being gay? Nah, nothing special about heteros and no POLITICAL GAIN to be had by talking about how great a normal relationship between a man and woman is. And that's what it is all about, giving political power to liberal progressives, not about rights.

Preston2
Preston2

He can say this a be PC for Goodell, but who in their right mind would want a queer in the locker room, especially when you are always preaching character? Sounds like a hypocritical PC type to me.

ronaldtallon
ronaldtallon

Some people  take the viewpoint that homosexuality is a sin.   They feel that it is really important to reject a guy like Sam who says he is gay because there are several passages in the Bible against homosexual behavior.   Alright then.    I have noticed that there is a very long list of issues with other players in the NFL involving other behavior issues which are clearly sinful if you use the Bible as a measuring stick.   I could go on and on, but one that I hear constantly is the story of players obviously sleeping around with multiple women (definitely out of wedlock)  many have 6 or 7 kids by 4 or 5 different women.    No big outcry about that.   Beating up women.   Drug violations.  Lying, cheating, stealing.   All of that is accepted as "boys will be boys" as long as they aren't gay.   It just does not make sense to me.   Even if it is a sin, I have plenty of my own imperfections to worry about before I go rejecting someone because they say they are gay.  I think I could just let The Almighty sort all of that out on His own schedule.   I'm supposed to be busy worrying about my own shortcomings.

BigHittas
BigHittas

why would they give a crap??

awil2win
awil2win

This Sam character is simply trying to boost his name recognition in hopes of moving up on the draft board. He is a round 3 to 5 player at best . I think he is a good football player. who he sleeps with should matter not one bit. He will be respected as a player only if he plays well. This politically correct horse manure being tossed around is just plain ridiculous. The Falcons need an infusion of talent on the defensive side of the ball for sure. The Sam smokescreen crap will not help anything at all.

tyger
tyger

What most fail to realize, especially on the defensive side…

Is Chauncey, Peterson, Lofton were very physical players…
Collective loss of physicality, yet to be replaced…
Evaluating Jerry on sacks alone is naive, but I expected more…
Never understood Sidbury either, all he did was make plays…
Thought Turner had gas left, but nobody picked him up, so…

Overall, the team record speaks for itself…
Falcons have been a very good regular season team…
A very poor playoff team…

Last year’s fiasco revealed a lot of holes and truths…
Must be brutally honest and fill gaps based on talent…
Last spring, Falcons touted G.Reynolds/Konz’s preparation…
Cant play that game this year…

zuzu331
zuzu331

Holy Moly,what a Smith quote,'There are a lot of people who interact in the locker room besides the players in Atlanta. You have the equipment staff, the training staff, the (public relations) staff and the coaching staff.” Hes the Original Master of the Obvious.

 I guess hes trying to deny the notion that the NFL is really a Gladiator Academy,or as Terry Crews recently said on some late night talk show,the NFL was 'Prison with money.'


Why,It wasnt long right here on this very Blog we were all treated to the hateful and seethingly racist bile of Matt Ryan being called a 'Punk Booty' after starting for Boston College for four years and this past Nightmare season of taking shot after shot after shot behind one of the very worst Offensive Lines in Football,and not complaining once...then hes publicly lambasted as not being 'Elite'.....again,Ryan doesnt post Idiotic Twitter rants,doesnt say a word,because he doesnt HAVE TO,this speaks for itself:

  • Only Falcons QB to lead the team to a 8-0 start [59]
  • Most Career Wins by Starting QB - 60
  • Most Wins in a Regular Season by a Starting QB: 13 (2010 and 2012)[60]
  • Most Career Pass Completions - 2,093 (2008-2013)
  • Most Passing Completions in a Single Season: 439 (2013)
  • Most Passing Attempts in a Single Season: 651 (2013)
  • Highest Completion Percentage, Career: 63.7
  • Highest Completion Percentage in a Single Season: 68.6 (2012)
  • Most Career Passing Yards, 23,472 (2008-2013)
  • Most Passing Yards in a Single Season: 4,719 (2012)[60]
  • Most 300+ Yard Passing Games, Career – 24
  • Most 300+ Yard Passing Games, Season – 7 (2012, 2013)
  • Most 4,000 Passing Yard Seasons, Career – 3
  • Most 3,000 Passing Yard Seasons, Career – 5
  • Most Consecutive Seasons, 4,000 yards passing – 3 (2011-2013)
  • Most Consecutive Seasons, 3,000 Yards Passing – 4 (2010-2013)
  • Most Passing Touchdowns in a Single Season - 32 (2012)
  • Fewest Interceptions in a Regular Season by Starting QB — 9 (2010) (16 starts)[60]
  • Best Career Quarterback Rating for Starting QB: 90.6[60]
  • Highest Passer Rating in a Single Season: 99.1 (2012)
  • Most 4th Quarter Comeback Wins in a Single Season: 5 (2010) (tied with Steve Bartkowski)[60]
  • Most Career Game Winning Drives: 24
  • Most Game Winning Drives in a Single Season: 7 (2012)


And this article is about,what exactly? Progressiveness? Diversity? Respect?

Hate On,People.....

Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

I will say this if the Flacons drat him I will no loger be a fan and I will no longer post on here N E more. 

A_Realist
A_Realist

@Preston2 Gay NFL players (or as you've labeled them queer) are not a new phenomenon they just haven't been open about it.

Tyreke
Tyreke

@ronaldtallon  Now who ever said we don't know about these things I don't agree with any of it, but this is a topic that is constantly being shoved down our throats, and as for me and everyone else we are tired of it. Plus no one blasts on the news AP has like 15 kids or Colin Kapernick has been smoking weed blah blah etc etc. 


If they had been we'd be sick and tired of that too, but this whole first actively gay player in NFL bit is just getting old, and honestly hope he ends up like Tim Tebow at this point. 

Barves_Loss_Agian
Barves_Loss_Agian

@awil2win  It go agianst God and the bible. Im sad that most dont see the dangar of this crime agianst God.

JSSN
JSSN

@tyger  

"Chauncey (Davis), Peterson, Lofton were very physical players"

By Falcons standards , so was Vance Walker. That is an indictment of the GM and training staff.

RonMexico
RonMexico

@zuzu331  That's quite the straw man you've built for yourself. Keep taking swings at it and maybe you'll feel better. How, exactly, is Matt Ryan's career even slightly related to the topic of Michael Sam? What is the larger point you're trying to make here?

stevehere
stevehere

Prayer group started to make this happen.

A_Realist
A_Realist

@Tea-Party-Meber @awil2win The only danger (notice the correct spelling) is that you are obviously grammatically challenged.....but you know the Bible huh? What about that "Judge Not, And Ye Shall Not Be Judged" passage????? Forgot about that one huh????

zuzu331
zuzu331

@RonMexico @zuzu331I feel Great,thanks-I'm not the one attacking,you are.How do YOU feel? Your alter,Vick probably doesnt feel so hot after bombing in Philly but running QBs have a very short shelflife,Y'know.....

Ryan's career is related to Micheal Sam,since at one point on this Blog the Sissy/Punk derogatory slurs were being thrown Ryan's way so hardcore it was absurd.And the question in my mind was Why? Why the Hate? Why was Ryan's manhood called into question If HE slides but Clowney's manhood is somehow beyond question if he takes an entire SEASON off to avoid injury?

Well,I call BS on that.

If people cant get over their deep seated hatred and resentment of a high paid marquee QB who happens to be a different race than they are,how will they EVER accept,much less respect an openly gay NFL player?

Now what else ya got?


TrueFalconFan
TrueFalconFan

@JSSN


Since you are so good at pulling crap out of the air, explain to everyone your most esteemed opinion of the "HIT" your boy Carson Palmer  (nearly career ending injury) he took from the player know as Kimo Von Oelhoffen (oh my guess is you'll say it was a cheap shot) during the Bengals and Steelers playoff of 2006 --- oh wait that was all then QB coach Bartkowski's fault, right?..... Go clean-up the bedpan & the droll ash wipe..............The point is your slurkie, slimy, childish remarks about MR2 - Are groungless and cheap ---- get back in that Grotto where you came from and stay there! 



Go MR2 & The Falcons!!!!!!

zuzu331
zuzu331

@JSSN @zuzu331@RonMexico Your argument is flawed and youre pulling that right out of the air. The fact that Clowney is still a kid excuses him from nothing.Theres nothing in an NFL contract that says 'SEEK OUT CONTACT'. QB is historically not a hitting position,thats a wrinkle added by those individuals playing the position built like Linebackers(Vince Young,Roethlisberger,Tebow) or fast enough(Russell Wilson,RG3,Vick) to get away with it.

Is Ryan a hitting,running QB? Nope,never has been. Is Ryan a Linebacker? Should he have tackled Tramon Williams? Maybe so.

Maybe hes just smarter than that.


 

JSSN
JSSN

@zuzu331 @RonMexico  

Correction: "2011," he threw a Pick 6 and tripped over himself "pursuing" Tramon Williams as he high stepped on towards the end zone!

JSSN
JSSN

@zuzu331 @RonMexico  

Simple, Clowney is not being paid cash taxable money to perform yet. There is nothing in the NCAA form for student-athletes that says you must put your future  health (and prosperity) on the line in exchange for the scholarship. If Spurrier was so distraught, he should suspended him and pulled his scholarship. It is that simple. Ryan is a grown highly compensated man, don't get it twisted. Sliding 5 yards short of contact in the Meadowlands in 2010 just built on his legend. He's only added to it since!

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