Openly gay football player Michael Sam has a clever response to Jack Burkman, the D.C. lobbyist who insists, with no supporting evidence, that he has Congressional support for a bill to ban gays from the NFL. In a tweet, Sam, who is certainly headed to the NFL, suggested that Burkman would have to appear in a remake of Back to the Future to succeed:
“Jack Burkman is going to need a Delorian, not some bogus bill, if he wants to prevent gay athletes from being in the locker room.”
That’s pretty much the only way Burkman can make his imaginary bill a reality. With this stunt, he has been revealed to be in the running for the world’s biggest troll.
In the world of D.C. insiders, the most effective lobbyists are those you’ve never heard of, which makes Burkman’s attention-seeking all the more remarkable. In the words of Slate columnist David Weigel, “if you dig for five seconds, you find that the guy’s a blowhard pundit who’ll sprain an ankle to sprint onto a TV set (usually Fox).” Weigel points out that among Burkman’s other charms, he has called Muslims “savages.”
Burkman’s former employer can’t move fast enough to put distance between him and them. “Holland & Knight is proud of its support of the LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] community and we condemn Jack Burkman’s current efforts,” according to a statement from the lobbying firm. (Note to Burkman: think twice before offering Holland & Knight as a reference.)
In fact, family ties won’t stand in the way of Burkman seeking publicity. His own brother, Jim, is gay and told the Huffington Post that the whole NFL effort was “just an attention grab and a media grab to pander to those folks who pay him to lobby on their behalf.” Jim Burkman, who is an MD, said that, while he loves his brother, “I told him years ago he should back off on gay issues, and if he ever crosses the line I would be happy to speak up as his gay brother. Today I felt he crossed the line.”
One things for sure: Michael Sam’s prospects look a lot better than Burkman’s.