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Is The NFL Ready For An Openly Gay Player?

by Tom King

The NFL may have to put their money where their mouth is. On Sunday All-American defensive end Michael Sam from Missouri announced on ESPN's Between The Lines show that he is gay. Many draft experts have said he would be a fourth round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. It should be interesting to watch if that remains the case. The league said all the right things about how the NFL is open to anyone who is good enough to play...but remember the NBA said the same thing when Jason Collins came out last year and he is still unemployed. Granted Collins is an older player near the end of his career but he could obviously help a number of teams off the bench if they were looking only at basketball talent. Sam would become the first "openly" gay player in the NFL. I put those quotation marks there because let's face it...there are closeted gay players in the league already and guess what...you may be cheering for them. Does that force you to revisit your view of homosexuality? Will there still be bigotry in NFL locker rooms from some players? Sure...just like there is still homophobia in other parts of society. But what this will do is show once again that gay people can live and prosper openly in our society without our society crashing down. And that's all they want...and its something that should be expected and embraced by all of us.

Traevon Jackson is a player that will drive you nuts. He will make plays or take shots that make you cringe and then a few seconds later make a great pass or knock down a game winning shot. All of that was on display yesterday as the Badgers beat Michigan State 60-58 at the Kohl Center. He hit s hort jumper with 2 seconds left for the victory which stopped a three game home losing streak for the Badgers. They have now won 2 in a row and will face Minnesota on Thursday. The Gophers beat Indiana over the weekend and Iowa dumped Michigan as the Big Ten continues to pound on each other.

Watched a bunch of the Olympics over the weekend. From the grace and beauty of the team figure skating( a made for tv event to have figure skating available for the entire run of the Games) to ski jumping, nordic skiing(which can be more exciting then you realize), and snowboarding (those guys are nuts, there was some excellent competition. Now comes the excitement of the mens' hockey tournament and the pressure on the Russian team to beat the Americans or Canadians for the gold. The coach of the Russian team played in the "Miracle On Ice" game back in 1980 and was brought in to whip the Russian team into shape after a dissappointing performance in Vancouver four years ago. I expect there will be more disappointment for the Russians next week when the US and Canada are playing for the gold medal.

I'll have high school hockey tonight as the East Lumberjacks host Northland Pines. Pre game at 7 and the puck drops at 7:15 on Foxsports AM1390 & FM 93.9.

The seedings are out for the high school hockey tournament which starts on Tuesday Feb 18th. Wausau West, Stevens Point, Northland Pines, Antigo, Wisconsin Rapids and Waupaca have first round byes. The First round matchups include Wausau East at Lakeland, Tomahawk at DC Everest, Rhinelander at Mosinee, Merrill at Pacelli, Medford at Eau Claire North and Chequamegon at Marshfield.

In girls hockey the Central Wisconsin Storm has a a #1 seed and will host Medford. Marshfield will play at Point/Rapids, Tomahawk at Rhinelander and Lakeland at Northland Pines.

Didnt get a chance to see the Beatles special last night on CBS but am looking foward to catching it this week...I heard it was very good.

Songs of the Day    (from my I-pod)

Missionary Man-Eurythmics (1986) a great rocker from Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart that earned them a Grammy. They reunited last night on the Beatles special.

Mississippi-Bob Dylan (2001) from the excellent 'Love & Theft album...here is  a live version of the tune