DeMaurice Smith on anonymous GMs: They're 'gutless'

By Josh Katzowitz | NFL Writer

Michael Sam continues to draw praise for his declaration. (USATSI)
Michael Sam continues to draw praise for his declaration. (USATSI)

Just about every NFL player who has publicly weighed in on Michael Sam's decision to tell the world he's gay has praised the declaration. Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin were in agreement on this issue, and Sam drew Twitter applause from POTUS and FLOTUS.

Yes, Ryan Clark has some questions for all of us, but when Jonathan Vilma is walking back his comments from just a few weeks ago about how a gay teammate would be tough to accept, it's a good sign that many NFLers feel the same way.

But immediately after Sam's declaration, a few anonymous NFL executives told Sports Illustrated that the NFL wasn't ready for an openly-gay player and that Sam's draft stock would fall as a result of his admission. That drew the ire of NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith.

"My first reaction to a group of anonymous GMs is when you contrast a group of anonymous GMs against a 24-year old college player, it seems that only one of them had the guts to put his name behind his message," Smith told CSN Washington. "My first reaction is to call those GMs what they are -- gutless. If a young man has the courage to stand up and talk about what he thinks is important, I would expect that a grown man could do exactly the same thing. But apparently they can't."

And if there were some kind of problem with the treatment received by Sam, how would the NFLPA step in to help him?

"With both feet," Smith said. "This isn't a union that has had a tough time stepping in with two feet to protect the interest of our players. If there ever came a time when we felt that there was a need to do something for this player or any player in a similar situation, the league wouldn't be surprised to see a letter from me coming across their desk."

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