Support of varying intensity continues to roll in for Michael Sam. This time it’s Payton Manning, who told a reporter that he doesn’t really care about Michael Sam’s personal life.
“You’re drafted a football player. That’s all we care about in the locker room,” Manning said. “What you do outside in your personal life is up to you.”
Manning’s a big deal in the football world. He’s a five-time MVP, Sports Illustrated‘s 2013 Sportsman of the Year — and he’s a devoted Christian.
His soundbite seems like a generally polite and accepting attitude. And it’s certainly a far cry from the “disgusting” reaction from other homophobic players.
But it also seems a little dismissive. Really, “nobody cares”? Nobody has any sense of how historic or amazing it is to have broken that barrier? This is like saying, “nobody in politics cared that Barack Obama was the first president of recent African decent. He was elected president, and that’s all we care about in Washington.”
Don’t get us wrong, we’re glad to hear an athlete of Manning’s stature suggest that it’s not a problem to have a gay colleague. That’s very pleasant.
But on the other hand, this “nobody cares” attitude may swing the pendulum a little too far in the other direction. It erases the Michael Sam’s queerness, and is only a few steps away from “we don’t mind having gay people around, as long as they don’t talk about it.”
Is this a relevant time to talk about how Manning recently donated $5,000 to Tennessee Senator Bob Corker, who opposes marriage equality? He also gave $1,000 to Indiana Senator Richard Lugar, who voted for a federal constitutional ban on marriage, and opposed DADT repeal. Not to mention the $5,200 he gave Lamar Alexander, who also voted in favor of a marriage ban. He gave $5,000 to Mitt Romney, and $2,300 to Fred Thompson, who backed a constitutional amendment barring judges from ruling on marriage equality. (If that sounds nuts, it’s because yes, it is.)
Has Peyton Manning ever donated to a politician who wasn’t trying hurt LGBT families? Maybe that’s something someone should ask him. Just not in the locker room, because that’s not what they care about there.