Several teams say Michael Sam's sexual orientation won't affect draft

The day after reported that eight anonymous NFL coaches and executives said former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam hurt his draft status by admitting that he is gay, high-ranking officials from a number of teams have gone on record saying that is not the case for their franchises.

New York Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said Monday: "I would just echo what the league and Zak DeOssie, one of our captains, have said in welcoming Michael into our league and supporting him as he attempts to achieve his dream of playing in the NFL.... Michael's announcement will not affect his position on our draft board.


"Michael Sam is a gifted athlete and a courageous man. I hope any NFL team would not hesitate to draft Michael if he is right for their team. Our game is the ultimate team game, and we often talk about how a team is a family. Regardless of where you are from, what your religious beliefs are, what your sexual orientation is, if you are good enough to be on the team, you are part of the family."

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft said: "If a player were gay and came into this locker room, it would be the most supportive system. He'd gain strength by being in here. And it wouldn't be divisive and he'd make friends for life and they could help him win.

"I really believe that. And it was interesting to me that this young man announced to his teammates that he was gay before the season started. And they had a 12-2 record, they were in the [Southeastern Conference]  championship game, like us being in the AFC championship game, and they lost to Auburn and beat Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

"And he was co-defensive player of the year in the SEC. And that was after full disclosure. And that makes me happy."

Chicago Bears General Manager Phil Emery told the Chicago Tribune by  email that Sam would be evaluated on the basis of his ability, just like every other player.

"Michael stated with great poise and confidence who he is as a person and football player and I have tremendous respect for him in the way he conveyed his thoughts and the courage it took to state them publicly," Emery said.

"Each and every player in the NFL is a unique individual, as we all are in life. We all ultimately gain respect in our jobs by how well we perform at our chosen profession and if the level in which we perform adds positively to the collective goal of success."

Baltimore Ravens President Dick Cass said of Sam: ""I don't think his being gay would be an issue at all for the Ravens. We're all about winning. If he's a good football player who can help us win games, he will be welcomed here."

Green Bay Packers Coach Mike McCarthy echoed the sentiments to the Green Bay Press-Gazette: "I think you definitely have to feel he's a courageous young man but my understanding is he's a talented young player. We always from Day 1 talked about our program, about our culture. [General Manager Ted Thompson] is going through the draft process right now and at the end of the day, it comes down to good football players.

"Any player who can come here and be a good teammate and follow the rules of our program, which is one be respectful and produce on the football field, we have room for that guy."