A New Jersey Employment and Civil Rights Attorney Discusses Michael Sam, the First Openly Gay Player in the NFL
First of all, I'm not going to assume that everyone reading this blog knows football, so let me explain something.
The NFL draft takes place over several days and involves many hundreds of players. The drafts are conducted in "rounds", where each of the NFL teams get to pick players in an order determined by that team's record in the previous season (the better the team's record, the worse their next year's draft position). Teams often trade their right to pick in certain order and in certain rounds, or they trade the players that they intend to pick (or do pick) for other considerations. Also, the higher a player is picked in the draft, the more money they can negotiate for by way of salary. The guys who get the most money are the guys that are picked in the first round, and of those guys, the guys that are picked first, second, third, fourth, etc., get the most money of all. So with that in mind, you can appreciate that out of all the players in the NFL draft, the fact that Michael Sam was picked eighth-to-last in the draft overall doesn't bode well for his "top money" prospects. But, even if he makes the league minimum, which given where he went in the draft, he almost certainly will, he'll still pull down over $450,000.00 a year (that's not bad for an entry level position in any job on the planet.)
So we're not talking about Michael Sam because he's the brightest star in the draft. We're talking about him, of course, because he's the first "out" gay player to be drafted it the NFL. He's made history, and so has the NFL. By implication, so have the St. Louis Rams, who drafted Michael, and so has everyone who's buying his Rams jersey. Incidentally, get a load of this: the top selling jersey days after the draft was Johnny Manziel's ("Johnny Football") - and rightly so given his prodigious talents and how high he went in the draft - but that of Michael Sam was number two. There are plenty of guys - hundreds - who went higher than Michael Sam in the draft whose jerseys weren't selling number two.