Anchor Dale Hansen Blasts Critics Of Michael Sam In Incredible Segment On NFL Hypocrisy
The National Football League might be about to have its first openly gay athlete in Michael Sam, but it's no secret that the NFL doesn't exactly roll out the welcome mat for gay footballers. Fortunately, our new hero, Texas sports anchor Dale Hansen, took down the hypocrisy of the league on Wednesday night in one fell swoop. During the segment "Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating Our Differences," Hansen said what everyone was thinking, publicly springing to the defense of the athlete poised to become the NFL's first openly gay player. And it was brilliant.
On Monday, Sam came out to the world, explaining that he wanted to kick off his football career by controlling his own narrative. And while many people rushed to support him, including First Lady Michelle Obama, there were plenty who didn't. Some of Sam's peers were quoted as saying that Sam wouldn't be welcome in the locker room.
And then we had Hansen, who began his segment like this:
Missouri's All-American defensive end Michael Sam, the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year, and expected to be a third to fifth round pick in the NFL draft tells the world he's gay.
The best defensive player in college's best conference only a third to fifth round NFL pick? Really? That is shocking. And I guess that other thing is too.
Hansen went on to compare the discrimination facing Sam to what happened a half-century ago, when black men and women started participating in national sports leagues.
Then, Hansen deals with the NFL insiders who told Sports Illustrated that Sam wouldn't fit in if he played for the NFL, because it'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.
Finally. You said it, Hansen.
Hansen adds that even if a situation makes people feel "uncomfortable," it doesn't warrant extreme hatred and bigotry. He even admits his own unease with the Sam situation:
I'm not always comfortable when a man tells me he's gay, I don't understand his world. But I do understand he's part of mine. Civil rights activist Audre Lorde said, "It is not our differences that divide us, it is our ability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences." We've always been able to recognize them, some of us accept them, and I want to believe there will be a day when we do celebrate it. I don't know if that day is here yet, I guess we're about to find out. But when I look at Michael Sam I do think it's time to celebrate him now.
Hansen has twice been named Sportscaster of the Year by the AP, and we can see why. Boy, can we see why.
And Hansen's not alone. Host Jon Stewart has also directly addressed Sam's critics, taking down those who thought Sam wouldn't "fit into" the league on The Daily Show earlier this week.
Meanwhile, other NFL athletes past and present have publicly supported Sam's decision to come out. Former NFL tight end Anthony Becht called Sam's move "courageous," explaining that, though not everyone would be so initially accepting: "If he can play football, [Sam] will be embraced and accepted."
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