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Washington Times Columnist: Michael Sam Should Have Stayed Closeted

February 19, 2014 10:20 am ET by Luke Brinker

Conservative columnist Michael Taube criticized National Football League (NFL) prospect Michael Sam's recent announcement that he's gay, writing that by coming out, it was Sam's "choice to make this noncontroversy into something controversial."

In his February 18 column for The Washington Times, Taube dismissed the significance of the potential first openly gay active NFL player, concurring with right-wing commentator Ben Shapiro's recent assertion that anti-gay discrimination isn't much of a problem in America. Taube blasted the alleged popular tendency to "discuss the homosexual issue ad nauseam" and suggested that Sam would have made things a lot easier for himself by not coming out (emphasis added):

For those who don't have this particular inclination, it's difficult to understand why some people have same-sex attractions. Yet I think we've reached a point in our society where this shouldn't be a major issue.

Syndicated columnist Ben Shapiro recently said on a Fusion TV interview there's a "vastly minute amount of discrimination against gays" in the United States.

Few would argue that racism and hatred have been completely extinguished in our society, of course. At the same time, I agree with Mr. Shapiro's position.

Why do we discuss the homosexual issue ad nauseam? Some of my fellow conservatives bring up this particular community far too often.

I would argue the fault really lies with liberal media organizations like The New York Times, who keep making it an issue and constantly lionize athletes like Mr. Sam who decide to come out.


You don't have to support either homosexual marriage or adoption (I don't) to come to the realization that an athlete's sexual orientation is of a secondary nature.

There's another important point to this story, however. Mr. Sam's decision to announce he's homosexual prior to the start of his pro football career could end up being a huge risk.

Some NFL teams may pass on drafting him. It's not due to intolerance, but rather the huge potential controversy that will undoubtedly follow his every move. Like it or not, it's a public-relations nightmare that most people would try to sidestep.


Michael Sam's career stats, rather than his sexual orientation, should ultimately be the defining factor. Yet his decision to make a sexual issue as important as his football prowess means he'll be observed and judged on a different scale.

This may not be fair or justified. At the same time, it was his choice to make this noncontroversy into something controversial.

Apparently, Taube sees no contradiction between concurring with Shapiro's patently false claim that anti-gay discrimination is largely a thing of the past and framing the possibility of an openly gay NFL player as "a huge risk" and "a public-relations nightmare." If a gay NFL player were really as insignificant as Shapiro and Taube suggest, why would Sam need to keep his sexual orientation to himself? And if anti-gay bias is nothing more than a figment of liberals' imagination, why does Taube believe that institutions like marriage and adoption should be off-limits to gay people?

Arguing that the public discussion surrounding Sam's coming out is really much ado about nothing serves a convenient purpose for anti-gay conservatives. It's a rhetorical tactic to frame their opponents as the ones who are really obsessed with sexuality - even as conservatives like Taube continue to support state-enforced discrimination against the LGBT community and argue that Sam should have remained closeted.


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