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The Eagle Has Landed and the Earth Is Still Spinning

by Abby Zimet

You know how everyone's always saying that gay athletes will never be viewed as entirely equal or accepted until there's a gay man in the NFL? Now there (probably) is. Though it was evidently long an open secret and he'd already told his team, it's considered a big deal that Michael Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri, Defensive Player of the Year and likely top draft for the NFL, publicly came out this weekend in a carefully timed announcement as "an openly, proud gay man." Some skeptics say because "there's nothing more sensitive than the heartbeat of the locker room," most of his colleagues "maturity-wise cannot handle it or deal with the thought of that" and his career in what remains "a man's-man game" is toast - though they invariably hasten to add something along the lines of "You shouldn't have to live your life in secrecy" and it shouldn't be that way. Many others, including Sam, very politely, say get over it.

"I want to own my truth," says Sam. "No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process. But I know what I want to be  - a football player in the NFL."

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