With a gay Atlanta jock and a sports scribe, 11Alive took a deep dive on Monday into Michael Sam becoming the NFL's first openly gay draftee, a spike in his jersey sales and that kiss. Oh that juicy same-sex smooch.
11Alive anchor Jeff Hullinger parsed Sam's selection by the St. Louis Rams during the sports segment late Monday, the big jump in his jersey sales and the impact of the NFL's first openly gay player with Fox Sports reporter Jay Clemons and Sean Fitzgerald, a swimmer who helped start the Atlanta Rainbow Trout and a board member and operations vice president for the Federation of Gay Games.
Fitzgerald and Clemons said Sam's pick, and the reaction since, shows that the NFL is poised to tap even further into a LGBT audience anxious to see one of its own in uniform.
"What the NFL will be cheering for is that they want [Sam] to either find a home in St. Louis or be good enough where he can find a home with another roster because of the untapped market. It's not really relevant where he plays this year, it's that he makes a roster period," Clemons says.
But what about that kiss – that moment when Sam turned to boyfriend Vito Cammisano and laid one on him in front of a national television audience on Sunday after being drafted?
"It's probably the most emotional kiss America has seen between two men. They've seen kisses on sitcoms, on television, on shows, but it's been an acting kiss. This is probably the first time they really saw the raw emotion of a gay man supporting his partner," Fitzgerald says.
Exploring LGBT issues is nothing new for 11Alive. Brenda Wood told Coke's diversity haters to piss off, it gathered some smart gays to talk about the Boy Scouts and Hullinger has moderated a mini-debate over Chick-fil-A between another smart gay and a Republican lawmaker. The station even hosted a wedding contest won by the gays.