Tim Tebow and Michael Sam both had storied college football careers and both now find themselves cut from their dream jobs in the NFL. But they have reacted to their situations a bit differently.
When Tebow was cut from the Eagles in his most recent chance to become an NFL quarterback, he responded to the news with this tweet:
Michael Sam, the first openly “gay” NFL player (hashtag ItGetsBetter) responded to being cut from Dallas like this:
I’m not going to say … but it probably would have been better for me if I didn’t come out. I would be on a roster.
Michael Sam was much more optimistic when he was cut from the Rams “Nothing good comes easy,” he said. But this most recent cut from the Cowboys apparently got past Sam’s external defenses.
You don’t hear Tebow talking about persecution and discrimination, and he has gone through far more disappointments than Michael Sam, and he is arguably a better football player.
If you read just about any thread on the topic, there certainly is a great deal of hate leveled against Tebow for his open Christianity. For that matter, there is a lot of hate for Michael Sam’s open homosexuality. The major difference between the two athletes is how they have responded to this hate. Tebow has not blamed the hate for being cut. Michael Sam has.
And, in actuality, both players were cut for a variety of reasons. The majority of the reason Tebow and Sam were cut from the NFL is that they were seen as inferior football players. But at least some of the reason they were cut is the media circus that follows them around. Though publicity is good for the football business, it can be a real detriment to actual football games. When your third-string quarterback gets more attention and airtime than your entire team combined, that’s bound to create problems eventually, even if your third-string quarterback is a team player and a nice guy. That’s what Michael Sam brought as well. He had already signed up for a reality TV show with Oprah before he was even signed onto a roster full-time.
There are a lot of factors here, but whether or not discrimination or persecution factors in, I think Sam would do better to follow Tebow’s lead: work hard, don’t complain, and continue to get better at football.