Daniel Kelly: Michael Sam - The Most Powerful Man In The NFL

Michael Sam. Photo: Matthew Visinsky/Icon SMI
Daniel Kelly is a former NFL Scout - NY Jets to be exact. His book "Whatever It Takes" is out now, and you can check it out HERE.

Michael who? Michael Sam. Don’t laugh and don’t look now, but Michael Sam is quickly becoming one of the biggest names in sports, if not on the face of the planet. 

That’s because the NFL is the biggest show on earth and Michael Sam is not only coming out in this year’s NFL Draft, he has also come out of the closet. 

Michael Sam has publicly confessed to being gay. 

That’s a super big deal, because by doing so, he’s gone from being a possible 3rd – 7th round selection to sitting at the table of high stakes poker with all of the NFL’s high rollers. By potentially becoming the first active, openly gay player, Michael Sam is now holding a hand full of aces and the league’s power players are not. The implications of this bombshell the SEC All American from the University of Missouri has dropped on Park Avenue flat out threaten the league’s entire infrastructure and their entire financial empire if they don’t play their cards right.

For starters, if Michael Sam is anything less than a 1st round draft choice in early May and if he isn’t given every opportunity to start in the league for a decade, there will always be high powered attorneys standing on the sidelines with Michael Sam’s cell phone number on speed dial. 

With a slingshot and two stones they will wind up with allegations of discrimination and a hostile work environment. Instantly, the league will be facing 4th and long. As always, there will be two options. They can either punt or they can go for it. Both options are daunting. If they chose to punt and settle, they’ll end up wire transferring their savings account into Michael Sam’s name. In the process, they will lose in the court of public opinion regardless of what type of agreement the league makes Michael Sam sign because the story is so high profile. Immediately, the NFL’s advertising reach into the homosexual community’s checkbooks will also be blindsided as the league will be labeled and perceived as being “intolerant” by many. Advertisers will quickly have to huddle up and decide if they really want their brands associated with the hate group known as the NFL. 

Time out. “Who does this guy think he is? We’re the NFL, we’re pushing all of our chips up on the table, ready break.”

John…looks like we’re headed to court in this one. 

Lights, camera, action as this suddenly becomes the media circus of our generation and Court TV becomes the highest rated television station in the world. On one side of the courtroom, league attorneys look pretty smug and pretty confident and across the way, Michael Sam’s team is all smiles. In the opening statement, Sam’s lead attorney warms up by alleging something to the affect of, “Michael Sam was cut by a white general manager who either is or has been married to a woman and who has identified himself as being a non practicing homosexual in a sworn affidavit and we are contending that it was because of our client’s confession of being homosexual and this particular general manager’s personal sexual preferences that he was released from the team.” 

The NFL’s opening statement is noted as a blank stare on their faces. 

Reporters immediately start banging on their keyboards that Michael Sam was cut for subjective reasons. Wait, the NFL’s entire system of evaluating and grading is based on subjectivity. 

Every personnel decision in NFL history has been based on subjectivity to some degree. That’s because humans have been doing evaluating. Every human evaluation, judgment and perception is subjective in nature to some degree. For example, I believe to this day that Tim Tebow is a franchise Hall of Fame caliber starting NFL quarterback. Tell me, who in the NFL sees him that way? 

The NFL’s entire system of evaluating is based on imperfect human beings evaluating and grading players based on their perceptions and their perspectives. Their perceptions and perspectives are shaped by a number of variables such as the specific offensive and defensive systems their team runs and then their thought process runs through the personal filters such as any bias, any prejudices, any personal hang ups, any agendas and whatever else is inside the evaluator comes out one way or another. Did the scout who gave me a bad grade not like my dreadlocks? Did the coach that benched me have a problem with the fact that I have children out of wedlock? Did the GM that cut me have a problem with the fact that I am a professing Christian and he professes to be Jewish? 

Suddenly, the entire NFL’s way of doing business comes under fire and lawsuits start flying in the windows of the league office like paper airplanes. Think of the lost wages. Think of the emotional trauma. I trained my whole life for this and I got overlooked or cut because….

It’s at this point the NFL realizes that their entire subjective selection process cannot stand in the political climate that has been created in America. 

The only real play the league can possibly draw up on this one is to send out a memo from the top of the chain of command to owners and GM’s across the league marked, “Confidential.” Within this memo will be a mandate that one of the clubs select Michael Sam in the 1st round, the higher the better. It will also be mandated the club that selects Michael Sam will make absolutely every effort to make him feel as welcome as humanly possible. It will also be mandated to the team that selects him will pencil him in as a starter for the next decade. It will also be mandated in no specific terms that every other club will do everything in their power to make sure that nobody in their organization ever says or does anything negative or derogatory towards Michael Sam in any way. In closing, it will be strongly suggested and encouraged that every club starts a weekly prayer meeting and pray that Michael Sam never gets injured. 

This is the only possible play design that will work for the NFL, because then if anyone else comes out of the closet down the road and they really can’t play or the team just wants to cut him because the coach doesn’t like the way he talks, the NFL will always be able to point back to Michael Sam and say they certainly are not against homosexuals and they will be able to dodge this incoming torpedo. 

This is my scouting report on Michael Sam and you’ll notice that I didn’t get into “how he is at the point of attack,” and I didn’t write anything about “his pass rushing techniques.” In fact, I didn’t even need to watch one second of film before I sent my report in. 

Whether he can play or not is absolutely irrelevant. Of course, I’m not suggesting that just anyone off the street could pull this off. Let’s not forget that Michael Sam is an SEC All-American who led his conference in sacks, so odds are he’ll be able to compete physically at the NFL level to some degree. That eliminates the option of saying that he’s an absolute joke on the field and cutting him based on that line of reasoning. Relegating him to a back up role and special teams really isn’t going to work either. Why isn’t he a starter? 

Critics can say whatever they want, but by the world’s standards Michael Sam is an absolute genius by making this move before the draft. He has all the leverage and he’s not bluffing, just look into his eyes. 

Daniel Kelly