MIAMI, Feb. 11 (UPI) -- Former NFL player Donte' Stallworth came out in support of gay NFL hopeful Michael Sam after ESPN analyst Herm Edwards and others questioned whether the defensive player’s sexual orientation would affect his draft status.
In my experience, if your organization can't "handle media coverage", they will suck on the field anyway... but hey, there's always 2015...— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014
“If any NFL team can’t ‘handle the media coverage’ of drafting Sam, then your team is already a loser on the field… let me tell you why,” Stallworth wrote in a series of tweets.
“There are a multitude of issues that can arise in the long duration of an NFL season … some on the field, some off the field. You won’t have any idea what that on the field/off the field situation is until it’s already upon you and the entire organization, which means that with drafting Michael Sam, you get a jump start on controlling the ‘media coverage’ right from the onset.”
In my 10 years as an NFL player, I've played for 6 different teams & have been in every kind of locker room. Vet, young, mature, immature...— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014
“If an organization is inept to the magnitude of not being able to control things with prior knowledge, how will you handle the unexpected? Case Study 1: The Miami Dolphins and the bullying scandal … players talked more about THAT than they did football… for weeks! During that time I questioned (tweeted) why the Dolphins players were talking more about the scandal than their next opponent. Since the bullying story broke, the Dolphins finished the season 4-4 (with) playoff hopes still alive, got spanked by division (opponent) Jets, 20-7.”
The leaders of an NFL organization AND the locker room better be able to handle adversity that is certain to emerge during a long NFL season— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014
In addition to playing for the Redskins and Browns, Stallworth was also a member of the New England Patriots. Owner Robert Kraft told the Boston Herald that Sam would be welcomed in New England -- if he can play.
“We’re about winning,” Kraft said. “And anyone who can come in here and help us win, I personally don’t care what their ethnic background is, their racial background, the gender preference. If they can help us win, and they’re about team first, then I’m happy to have him here…If a player were gay and came into this locker room, it would be the most supportive system. He’d gain strength by being in here. And it wouldn’t be divisive and he’d make friends for life and they could help him win.”
Stallworth seems to agree that Sam could fit in with the Patriots.
Because Mr. Kraft and Bill Belichick would not allow ANY of that to be a "distraction" to ANYONE in the entire organization...— Donte' Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014