20 May 2014

If You Express Your Opinion, Gays Will Threaten You

Derrick Ward
If you want to express your opinion against gays, please be aware that they may respond by threatening you, including your family.

This was the lesson learned by former Giants running back Derrick Ward when he took to Twitter to say it was "disgusting" to see Michael Sam kissing his boyfriend on television after Rams drafted him, "gay or not."

Later, the Super Bowl-winner sent out a statement with his response to what he said were death threats, insults and harassment after his tweets. Ultimately, it says that gays can criticize all they want, but when it is about criticism against their lifestyle, they close their ears and refuse to listen.

Here's the statement in full:
I am sending this letter to clarify the comments I made on social media regarding Michael Sam. Michael Sam being drafted was definitely a monumental moment for gay people. However, what was deemed monumental was replaced by what can also be deemed inappropriate. Instead of people focusing on the fact that Sam was the first openly gay man in professional football; the focus was on the sexual undertones of actions made after that announcement. As a father of two, I did not find Sam's behavior appropriate; irrespective of sexuality. I have watched numerous draft responses and have been drafted myself; therefore, I can rationally speak on what I saw from Sam. I maintain that the kiss shared on national television was in poor taste and was offensive, in my opinion, and I have a right to express my discomfort.

I have received numerous insults, death threats, and harassment because of my opinion. The presumption that I have discriminated against Sam and other gay people; however, even a peripheral review of my statements show I never made it about sexuality, I made it about impropriety, are false.

While others may feel empowered by spewing anger against me or trying to suppress my statements; is it not equally discriminatory to try to suppress my statements and feelings towards a situation that not only impacts the National Football League but potentially my family as well?

Therefore, instead of making this story about unfounded homophobia, it should be about how we move forward at this place in time and begin a dialogue on how the league and world will accept its first openly gay NFL player and the consequences of this scenario that will certainly repeat itself.

It far more beneficial to understand the complexities associated with having an openly gay player, rather than focusing on comments that are misconstrued. As a proud retiree of the NFL I feel comfortable speaking about the culture of the league and what this change may bring to the future of professional sports.