He also put a spotlight on the latent homopohobia that continues to dwell within the sports world.
Responding to media reports including in Sports Illustrated where several NFL officials claimed that Sam’s decision to publicly reveal his sexuality would make other players uncomfortable, the Dallas-based reporter used his evening broadcast to launch into a smackdown of homophobia within sports.
In his “Dale Hansen: Unplugged” segment for WFAA-TV, the 30-year media veteran said it had been “quite a weekend” with Sam coming out as gay only months before the NFL Draft where he was expected to be at least a mid-round pick.
Hansen then continued: “The best defensive player in college football’s best conference only a third to fifth round NFL pick? Really? That is shocking, and I guess that other thing is, too. Michael Sam would be the first openly gay player in the NFL; says he knows there will be problems… and they’ve already started.
“Several NFL officials are telling Sports Illustrated it will hurt him on draft day because a gay player wouldn’t be welcome in an NFL locker room. It would be uncomfortable, because that’s a man’s world.
“You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft.
“You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police trying to cover up a murder? We’re comfortable with that. You love another man? Well, now you’ve gone too far.”
The sportscaster then equated existing discriminatory attitudes towards gay people as similar to how black players in the past weren’t allowed to “play in our games”.
“So many of the same people who used to make that argument (and the many who still do) are the same people who say government should stay out of our lives. But then want government in our bedrooms,” Hansen said.
“I’ve never understood how they feel “comfortable” laying claim to both sides of that argument. I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world. But I do understand that he’s part of mine.”
Hansen’s defence of Sam’s sexuality came as the University of Missouri player’s own father, Michael Sam Sr, publicly attacked his son and admitted to being shocked by the news of his coming out.
“I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” Sam Sr told The New York Times.
“I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment. I’m old school. I’m a man-and-a-woman type of guy.
“As a black man, we have so many hurdles to cross. This is just one he has to cross.”
Sam will enter May’s NFL Draft after being named the South Eastern Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.
WATCH DALE HANSEN UNLEASH ON HOMOPHOBIA IN SPORTS