Former NFL star counters every argument against gay players

"If any NFL team can't 'handle the media coverage' of drafting Sam, then your team is already a loser on the field."

 

Chase Hoffberger

Culture

Published Feb 11, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 6:41 pm CDT

The word being used over and over again in the rhetoric surrounding NFL hopeful Michael Sam and his recent declaration of his homosexuality is “distraction” and whether the announcement in and of itself will be one to any football team who drafts them. 

While a handful of anonymous individuals within NFL front offices have suggested that Sam’s homosexuality will be too much of a distraction for any team to overcome, many have argued that the term is simply white noise—that distractions don’t amount to or derive from anything. 

Former NFL wide receiver Donté Stallworth falls squarely in the second camp. Stallworth, who retired in 2012 after totaling 4,837 yards and 35 touchdowns in 10 seasons with six teams, knows a thing or two about distractions within an organization: In 2008, he was convicted of DUI manslaughter after hitting a pedestrian with his Bentley coupé and sentenced to 30 days in jail, in addition to a number of other mandates. He was also suspended by the NFL for the entire 2009 season.

Since retiring, he’s become a grounding voice on Twitter, something made quite apparent last night when he sounded off on the idea that NFL teams wouldn’t be able to handle the attention that comes with Sam. 

Herm Edwards posed a hypothetical question on epsn re: drafting Michael Sam, “can (GM/owner/coach) handle the media… with this situation?”

— 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…

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

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.

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

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…

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

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…

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Which means that with drafting Michael Sam, you get a jump start on controlling the “media coverage” right from the onset.

— 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?

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Case Study 1: The Miami Dolphins and the bullying scandal… players talked more about THAT than they did football… for weeks!

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

During that time I questioned (tweeted) why the Dolphins players were talking more about the scandal than their next opponent….

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Since the bullying story broke, the Dolphins finished the season 4-4…w/playoff hopes still alive, got spanked by division opp Jets, 20-7

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Case Study 2: The New England Patriots and Aaron Hernandez AND Tim Tebow situations…

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Beyond the state of shock I endured after the revelations of Hernandez, I knew that if ANY organization could handle this, it was the Pats.

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

This all happened right before training camp where players are supposed to come in w/clear minds in preparation for a long, rigorous season.

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Not only were there questions about Aaron, but also about the health of Gronkowski and how those two combined affected the team as a whole.

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Aaron is still awaiting trial & Gronk played in only 7 games this season…but yet the Pats seemed to avoid those “distractions” altogether.

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Despite many season ending injuries to key pieces, the Pats finished 12-4 and lost to the Broncos in the AFC title with… ZERO distractions

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

Not to mention the whole Tebow signing and (alleged subsequent) distraction wasn’t even a blip on most radars… Why?

— Donte’ Stallworth (@DonteStallworth) February 10, 2014

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

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

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

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

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 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

Photo via Donte Stallworth/Facebook

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*First Published: Feb 11, 2014, 12:35 pm CST