Atlanta Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel was taking his turn going through the Bristol Car Wash today, appearing on a multitude of ESPN programs. When he reached the SportsCenter stop, things got awkward. Anchor Chris McKendry brought a quote from Samuel to his attention regarding Jason Collins and gay players coming out. While Samuel's original quote doesn't necessarily cause warning sirens to go off, it's a bit clumsy. His sentiment is basically that Collins' sexuality should be kept to himself, which is a viewpoint that doesn't really take into account the fact that Collins feeling the need to keep his sexuality a secret is the problem to begin with.
Given the chance to expound upon it only led to more confusion and head-scratching. Video via Ride the Pine…
Samuel's "stick to sports" mantra would be all well and good if it didn't completely ignore what's happening in our world. His statement that he teaches kids "how God lives his life" is again awkwardly worded, as if God is currently engaged in some kind of a heterosexual relationship. That just sounds like a bad Family Guy tangent.
But then comes the kicker. McKendry asks Samuel how he would deal with a gay teammate and he responds by saying, "we'll deal with it at the time." McKendry rightly pushes on the topic again and Samuel states it's for the NFL to figure out how NFL locker rooms would accept a gay teammate. Then, Samuel adds, "If they pay me to figure it out I could do it… they gotta get a check first."
Soo… Asante Samuel is all for accepting an openly gay teammate in the locker room as long as the NFL or the Falcons gives him some kind of "gay teammate" bonus? Something tells me that doesn't classify as true "progress."
Oh, that nervous laugh. Samuel makes it clear he respects Collins and his courage for coming out at the end of the interview so I don't think it's fair to completely crush or judge Samuel or his motives here, but maybe he should think about choosing his words a bit more carefully next time. He's still got a few stops in the Bristol Car Wash to go.