Falcons make it clear: Gay prospect OK with us

Add this share

The Atlanta Falcons broke their silence on SEC football star Michael Sam, backing the newly out gay jock and saying he'll be evaluated for his skills on the field and not his shirtless dance moves off of it.

Atlanta Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff to ESPN:

"We recognize and appreciate the courage that Michael Sam demonstrated with his recent announcement," Dimitroff said in a statement "The NFL has always valued inclusion and diversity. As a team-builder, our job is to judge players on their talent, character and potential. His announcement will have no bearing on how we evaluate him as a football player."

Which is refreshing, since executives with several NFL teams have said otherwise.

Coaches with the Falcons worked with Sam during the Senior Bowl last year, which raised questions about whether the team might draft him in the wake of his coming out publicly on Sunday.

Dimitroff says it's about skills and character.

"We’ve always taken pride in the locker room that we’ve put together," Dimitroff told ESPN.com in a follow-up conversation. "In the end, this about the individuals and how they adhere to our team concepts, our team approach. And it’s about the individual’s character and his ability to make this team better."

Though the Falcons sometimes allow skills to outweigh character. Hey there, Asante Samuel and Roddy White.

But if the Falcons do draft Sam in May, they might want to brush up on gay vocabulary before they ink a deal. "Sexual preference" hasn't been in vogue for years.

Now that Sam has gone public, it is fair to wonder if the topic of his sexuality will be discussed when he sits down with teams prior to the draft. Those questions might surface during the upcoming NFL combine. But the Falcons won’t engage in such inquiries, according to Dimitroff.

"An individual’s sexual preference is not part of our research," Dimitroff said.

[Huffington Post | ESPN | Atlanta Journal-Constitution]


Project Q Atlanta goes on hiatus after 14 years

On Sept. 1, 2008, Project Q Atlanta promised a hyper-local “queer media diet” for Atlanta. The site set out to bring LGBTQ news, in-depth...

Photos catch Purple Dress Run invading Midtown

After three years of pandemic-inflicted limitations, Atlanta’s gay rugby squad let loose on one of its most popular events. The Atlanta Bucks Purple Dress...

Ooo Bearracuda: Photos from Bear Pride’s Main Event

The seventh annual Atlanta Bear Pride hit the ground running on Friday with packed houses at Woofs, Heretic and Future. Turned out, they hadn’t...

Atlanta Bear Pride set to go hard and long all weekend

That low, growing growl you hear is a nation of gay bears headed for Atlanta Bear Pride this weekend. By the time they arrive,...

PHOTOS: Armorettes bring back Easter Drag Race magic

Gay Atlanta’s queens of do-good drag brought the sunshine to a cloudy afternoon on Saturday when Heretic hosted the triumphant return of Armorettes Easter...