With the NFL season over, it’s time for America to sit back and enjoy what Jon Stewart calls its second-favorite sport: “waiting for football.” Things got off to a raucous start Sunday, one week after the Super Bowl, when college football player and NFL prospect Michael Sam came out as gay. The imminent possibility of the NFL’s first openly gay player has everyone talking, and last night Stewart gave a breakdown of what it all means, complete with a Tim Tebow dis.
First, Stewart addressed the legitimacy of Sam’s NFL prospects – because if he’s gay, he’s probably not a real player, right? He’s a kicker or something, most likely. Oh wait, Sam is an all-American defensive end, and was voted the best defensive player in what most consider to be the best conference in college football. Because, you know, Sam is really good. As Stewart said, “it’s as though sexual orientation has nothing to do with physical strength.”
There is also the whole idea that football teams and locker rooms won’t be accepting of Sam’s sexual orientation. Except Sam told his college teammates at the beginning of the season in August, and everyone kept it “respectfully private.” It wasn’t a big deal at all. In fact, after Sam came out publicly on Sunday, the University of Missouri expressed its support for him with a tweet. “Which just goes to show, that despite what might be the heartland’s reputation, they’ll welcome anyone, no matter how different, if you’re really good at football,” Stewart said. And again, Sam is quite good.
Stewart addressed the absurdity of some NFL players’ fears of being checked out in the locker room by an openly gay player – “It’s so weird how some guys just assume that they’re so irresistible to gay guys” – and the NFL teams labeling Sam’s sexual orientation as a distraction. Stewart dismantled the distraction argument perfectly: “No pro team wants the type of controversy having a gay player is going to cause … if he had just been convicted of DUI vehicular manslaughter, or obstruction of justice in connection with a murder, or have been accused of sexual assault, or screamed the n-word at a concert, or killed a bunch of dogs,” as other NFL players have all done, then Sam would be a great fit on an NFL team. But being gay is just too much. Riiiight.