Last February, Dale Hansen of Dallas-Fort Worth ABC affiliate WFAA gave a brilliant, bracingly frank defense of Michael Sam, who had recently come out as gay. Hansen, a straight man, waved away unnamed NFL officials’ concerns about Sam’s locker room behavior, slamming their hypocrisy and tearing apart their incoherent prejudice.
On Monday night, in response to Sam’s last-minute drafting by the St. Louis Rams and the resulting kiss-related controversy, Hansen struck again, castigating the NFL for letting Sam’s fate dangle for so long and dismissing homophobic criticism with enviable sass:
Hansen, who has the build and demeanor of an aging football coach, is an unexpected candidate to deliver this straight talk—which is what makes his pro-Sam speeches so effective. To red state America, gay supporters of Sam are just defending one of their own, and it’s easy to block out the noise of a thousand liberal thinkpieces defending the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. When a burly, heterosexual sportscaster stares straight into the camera and defends Sam repeatedly, it’s a lot harder to write him off as nothing but a overhyped gay celebrity. Sam has yet to step foot on the field as an NFL player, and he’s surely already helped thousands of Americans reexamine their prejudices. Just imagine what will happen when he starts winning games.