Greg Smith Keynote Speaker

Leadership Expert on Resiliency and Inner Strength – Greg helps leaders and teams “Go Full-Strength!” for maximum productivity.

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Inner Strength insights from the world of sports, disability, entertainment, business, politics and everything else I’d like to share with you.

Monthly Archives: September 2014

Operation Rise & Shine Update

Operation Rise & Shine Logo

 

To whom it may concern… My patient, Gregory A Smith, Sr, has muscular dystrophy and congestive heart failure. He recently purchased a mattress from Sears that is too soft and does not allow him to turn over in bed independently. He needs to exchange it for a mattress that is more firm…

Sears is making me get this doctor’s note to them so that I can exchange my mattress before waiting for a 31-day trial period to pass. I still have to pay a 15% restocking fee. That’s the latest in “Operation Rise & Shine,” my quest to be able to get into and out of bed whenever I choose.

Despite the extreme challenges presented by the soft mattress which is about 2 inches higher than my old one, I am proud to announce that today, I was able to make the transfer out of bed and into my wheelchair.

Getting into the chair requires very specific positioning of my feet and elbows. The chair must be parked in the precise spot at the exact angle. My elbows need to be positioned in such a way that allows me to gain leverage to push my rear end from the bed into the seat. And I must be able to flip my right arm back to reach the string attached to the “tilt” button on my chair and pull it. This tilts the chair backwards and raises my body to a point where I can use gravity to sit upright.

I can’t take FULL credit for this morning’s transfer, however. I had to ask my dad to reposition the string. And remember those sexy sheets my mom bought? I’ve been using the silk pillow case on the bed (without the pillow) to allow myself to turn my head easily. The pillow case kept getting in the way of my elbow positioning so he had to help me by removing that as well.

However, when I finally arrived in the seat, I gave my dad a fierce scowl, bumped my fist against my chest and let out a loud “ARRRRRRGH!” He laughed.

With determination, you will be surprised at what you can accomplish. Remember to always turn “I want to” into “I MUST do” when the stakes are high enough. If you must, you will.

Friendship is Essential to the Soul (And the Sale)!

I get by with a little help from my friends!

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When I peel back the layers, I realize that ultimately, I am really in the friendship business. About half of my business comes from referrals from my friends.

I have been speaking for a long time, however I view myself as an aspiring motivational speaker. I have not made the big-time yet. Yes, I have been in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, on PBS, NPR, etc. But those fleeting 15 minutes of fame have not put me on the A-list as a top level, sought-after motivational speaker yet.

Don’t get me wrong, I feel like I am making a difference in peoples lives. I do okay, but I am not in the same league as big-name colleagues who command and receive five times my speakers fee and are booked solid.

Much of work that I do get I can honestly say comes from my friends.  Today, a referral came in about a possible presentation in Chicago.  It came from a close friend.  Next week I will be in Tallahassee, Florida speaking at an Equity and Workforce Development New Public Servant Initiative One-Day Conference for the City of Tallahassee. That work came directly from a close friend. In October I’ll be keynoting at South Mississippi Regional Center… close friend! February, Southwest Tennessee Community College… close friend! Back in April, I spoke at Kennesaw State University… close friend! If I went back and did the research, I would estimate that about 50% of my business comes from you, my friends.

What’s great is that every trip is a reunion. Not only do I get to speak and make new friends along the way, but I also get to spend precious time with old friends. I get to hang out with fraternity brothers. I get to see old friends and pick up right where we left off.

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I make it a point to never travel and speak on the same day. It’s too tiring. I did that when I was a younger man, but muscular dystrophy and age have put a stop to that nonsense. With this policy I am always available the night after my speech to hang out and have fun! If I come to your town, the night of my speech, we will get together at a sports bar, watch a game and have a good time. We’ll take some “selfies” and tell some jokes. You’ll bring some people who will become new friends and we’ll all feel good that we made a difference in the lives of audience members that day.

If that sounds like fun to you, a great place to start would be to introduce me to the high school principals and counselors in your area. I love inspiring young people. Same goes for colleges and junior colleges. I also am great with professional associations, government agencies, sales teams and, of course, disability related conferences and events. Just introduce us via email or have them fill out the inquiry form on my home page and I’ll take it from there. Or call me and we can set up a strategy.

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There is urgency in my energy. Being 50 with muscular dystrophy and congestive heart failure makes me keenly aware that my traveling days will someday come to an end. But I feel great right now and I’m eager to spread my message of inner strength worldwide. And I could also use the business!

So, my friends. I’m counting on you. Daddy has two kids in college! He doesn’t need a new pair of shoes but he definitely needs a new wheelchair!
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Happy Mondays Decided on Sundays?

by Greg Smith

Are your Monday moods decided by the performance of your team on Sundays?

Last night, in the “golden state,” the Chicago Bears were the warriors, battling back from devastating injuries and a 17 point deficit to ruin the San Francisco 49ers housewarming party in their new stadium. Today is Monday and I’m very happy!  The sky is a little more blue.  The coffee tastes better.  My goals for the day are clearly outlined and attainable.

Last Monday, I was very depressed after the Bears were upset by a much weaker Buffalo Bills team.  I didn’t want to open the blinds to even see how blue the sky was.  I didn’t want any coffee.  I just watched Sportscenter highlights and wondered why everything happened the way it did.

Why I love the Bears so much

The fluctuation in my Monday moods based on the Bears performance is nothing new.  This excerpt from my book will entertain you and might help you relate.  Should I be under a psychologists care over this or is my behavior within the bounds of sanity?  Are your autumn and winter Mondays decided on Sundays?

 


Excerpt from On A Roll: Reflections from America’s Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude

While an ASU student, I spent most of my summers and Christmas vacations with my parents in Chicagoland. As a child growing up there, my moods on Mondays strictly depended on whether the Bears won or lost. No wonder I identified so strongly with that song, I Don’t Like Mondays, by the Boomtown Rats. But I knew every week that the Bears had a chance to win, no matter whom they played, because of one ingredient that nobody else could match: Walter Payton.

Greg Smith's memoir, On A Roll: Reflections from America's Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude

Greg Smith’s memoir, On A Roll: Reflections from America’s Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude

I identified with “Sweetness.” In his Bears uniform, he was greatness on a miserable team. In my wheelchair, I felt like I was greatness in a miserable body and a cold, physical world. Yet we both held onto our dreams. I grew up, went on to Arizona State and became the sports director of the campus radio station. His team grew up, became good and in 1985 hosted an NFC Divisional Playoff game against the New York Giants. I was home for the holiday break. I called the Bears office and was able to obtain a single locker room pass that would permit me entrance into the Bears locker room after the game. It would not permit me into Soldier Field or into the press box.

My parents and their friends had tickets and rented an RV for the game. The plan was for my cousin Ronald and me to watch the game from the parking lot and go directly to the Bears locker room afterwards to interview the players. Shortly after my parents left, Ron and I looked at each other with devilish grins and didn’t have to say a word. We bundled up on this subzero Chicago December afternoon. He pushed me in my manual wheelchair to one of the entrances and to our amazement, the locker room pass gained us entry into the stadium!

We found a temporary resting-place in the wheelchair section just above the field at about the 40-yard line, but on this painfully frigid day, I could only endure it for 30 minutes. It was just too cold. We decided to try the press box as a last ditch attempt to remain in the stadium before surrendering back to the RV. And whaddaya know? The security guard allowed us on the elevator. Before we knew it, we were being served hors d’oeuvres in a heated press box, receiving detailed statistics, and enjoying the Bears thrashing of the Giants. In all the excitement, I had to continue to remind my cousin that this was the press box. Cheering was not allowed, even when the Bears pressured Giants punter Sean Landetta so much that he took his eyes off the ball as he dropped it in the general direction of his foot, resulting in one of the NFL’s all-time funniest follies!

As time ticked off the fourth quarter clock, my greatest concern became how I would get from the press box to the Bears locker room after the game. The only wheelchair accessible path would have taken us completely outside Soldier Field and against the grain of the departing crowd. The Bears’ public relations director said not to worry. He instructed ushers to meet me at the bottom of the elevator and carry me on their shoulders in my wheelchair, down the bleachers to the locker room level. I felt like royalty.

They set me down gently. Right in front of me was The NFL Today’s Irv Cross and his camera crew about to enter the locker room in front of me! We wheeled through the door. Clusters of aggressive reporters so surrounded the most celebrated Bears that in some circles, I couldn’t even see the players. I felt intimidated, sheepishly scanning the room for the slightest possibility that I could get an interview with just one big-time player. From my wheelchair, I could read the names of the players above their lockers. Huge crowds surrounded Mike Singletary, Willie Gault, and Jim McMahon. I must have looked pretty dejected at the realization that I would have to wait for “seconds” instead of getting those first, passionate statements from players after a victory that moved them to within one game of the Super Bowl. I was able to conduct a short interview with Bears offensive lineman Tom Thayer since he was sitting alone and neglected by the media.

Ever the optimist, I continued to seek an interview opportunity, and through a crack in the crowd, his eyes met mine. Slowly and softly, he extended his arm forward and moved it to his right, brushing it up against the abdomen of a reporter, who took one step aside. He nodded his head, looking me dead in the eye. He didn’t pause from answering the question he was asked. He just moved his arm and created a space for me. I rolled forward and extended my microphone. I was so excited by the moment and so intimidated by my surroundings that I didn’t even ask a question. But my tape recorder captured the voice of Sweetness.

Order your copy of On A Roll – Reflections from America’s Wheelchair Dude with the Winning Attitude. A great read for yourself and a great choice as a gift!

Operation Rise & Shine!

One Man’s Quest to Go to Bed and Get Up Whenever!

Based on your amazing response (record-setting blog numbers) to my article yesterday about my quest to rise and shine independently, I thought I would give you an update today. The news is not good, however I persevere.

In case you missed it, I am a 50 year old man with muscular dystrophy (really!), who is finding it next to impossible to independently transfer from my wheelchair to bed and vice-versa without assistance.  This is putting a cramp on my lifestyle and this difficulty must stop.  I need to figure out a way to maintain that freedom.

Part of the problem is the bedding. A few months ago, we decided to turn the mattress over, because I found myself sinking into a whole when sleeping, making it impossible to turn over. But after flipping the mattress, I noticed that the elevation of the bed was a little higher and that made it more difficult to get in bed. It was decided that we needed to buy a new one.

Determination will have to wait a while

The new mattress was delivered yesterday. It is one of those combination mattresses that features both the springs and the foam. As soon as it was delivered and placed onto the box spring, I could tell that it was even higher. I immediately had them remove the box spring and then it was obviously too low.

So my quest is on-hold until I find a mattress that is not too high, not too low, not too hard, not too soft, but juuuuusssst right!

Also, my mom went to Walmart last night to buy me some satin sheets. The thinking is I’d be able to slide across the bed easier to turn over on slick sheets. When she got home, gave me a funny look and said “These were the only ones they had.”

Greg holding up leopard skin sheets!

“Mom, you should have got me the ‘Pink” pajamas while you were at it!”

Greg kissing his leopard skin sheets

Stay tuned for the next episode of “Operation Rise & Shine!”

 

Losing and Still Winning!

I now have enough doctors

            to form an offensive line.

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By Greg Smith

I’m protected by all-stars.  At left tackle is my primary care physician. The left guard is my optometrist. My center is my cardiologist. My right guard is my pulmonologist, and my right tackle is my gastroenterologist.

It is a winning team. With their protection, I have plenty of time “in the pocket.”

It is no secret that one of my strengths is the ability to find pleasure when I accomplish difficult obstacles and emerge victorious. I always say that we get stronger by lifting the weights of life’s challenges. If I indeed ultimately profit from misfortune, I’m going to be rich. I’m facing cataract surgery, an esophageal scope and (I’m now 50), a colonoscopy all in the next month!

It’s all good to me. I’m brave with the knowledge that after it all, I will be even stronger! I’ll be able to see better without needing glasses anymore! I’ll be able to swallow easier and nourish my body better. And I will learn (God willing) that I am cancer free!

Lost a few teammates

As you may know, my sons and daughter have moved 1500 miles away and relocated in Arizona. I am proud of their independence and very happy for them. That’s the most important thing. I am confident that they will do well and be successful.

But from my perspective, I have three less sets of arms and legs to help me function. As a result of their absence, I need to be more independent.

Muscular Dystrophy is a disease that gradually weakens the muscles in your body. It is the opposing defensive line, trying to “sack” me.  It doesn’t do it with speed.  It thrives on sheer power… gradual pressure.

The gradual change is so slow that you barely notice it. But when the moment arrives where you can no longer do something that you used to be able to do it can be quite shock. 30 years ago, I could walk from my bed to the bathroom sink. 20 years ago, I could stand up in front of the sink and brush my teeth. Now I have to lean my elbows on the sink to support my body. 10 years ago I could independently transfer from my wheelchair to the toilet. Those days are long gone.

Not yet ready to call it a night

Two years ago, I could, with some difficulty, transfer from my wheelchair to my bed and vice versa. About a year ago, I got sick and spent weeks in bed. Extended periods in bed drain your strength and force you to ask for help. Instead of transferring independently, I needed help getting in and out of my wheelchair daily.

As I recovered, I found the struggle of climbing into and out of the wheelchair to be unappealing, so I started asking for help most of the time. At first, I knew that I was being lazy and could do it myself, but as time progressed, I started to realize that getting in and out of the chair was no longer a sure thing. It got to the point where I would only take on the challenge if nobody was around.

And then one evening, several months ago, I started to question whether or not I COULD make the transfer. Imagine laying in your bed and thinking to yourself, “I wonder if I can get up from here?”

That night I tried but after about a 30 minute exhaustive effort, I could not do it. I tried every possible strategic use of leverage, momentum and strength but I could not overcome the force of gravity. I realized that night that I was truly bedridden.

For a while I accepted it. Having the kids around to help me at all hours of the night made my lifestyle relatively unchanged. I could call Greg Jr. at 2 AM to put me in bed. But now that they are gone, my parents have to do it, and they like to go to bed early.

I believe in all of that “early to bed early to rise” stuff, but on the other hand, the silence of the evening offers me a great opportunity to strategize, write, and record my material which helps people build their inner strength. Sometimes I feel like I just need to be up at the computer typing or recording, but I am unable to because I have to take the help getting in bed when it’s offered.

Enough is enough!

I have decided that I am not going to give up without a fight. I’m going to hit the “weight room.” I have obtained the services of an occupational therapist, and I am determined to try to help myself more in order to maintain my freedom.

I am happy to tell you today that this morning I was able to get myself in the chair. It was agonizing. It was time-consuming (took about 20 minutes). It was physically draining and by the time I was in the chair I was exhausted. But I made it into the chair! That is the victory. That is what has energized me and given me the drive to have a very productive day.

Now that the kids are raised, it is time for me to move on to the next opponent on my schedule, moving out of my parents home and into a new life of independence. That’s the sport I play. I have a must-win attitude. Building inner strength for victory in the game of life is what I help others do. Its time for me to get back into game shape and do what I’ve been telling others to do.

Welcome to the game I play.  I hope you enjoy the battle. Consider this blog your online source for updates.  Bring me in to speak to your group to see the action live from your luxury skybox seats!  It’s gonna be a helluva ballgame.

Here’s video of an independent transfer from over three years ago.  It is much more difficult now.

 

NFL Fans: The Waiting is Over!

A faithful friend returns to our lives

Don’t you hate those agonizing daily countdowns? You know, the number of days you must endure until that date you’re really looking forward to finally arrives? For example, we have to focus on other things for 463 days until the new “Star Wars” movie makes its debut. We have to wait 107 days until Christmas. 35 days until the next “The Walking Dead” episode. (Almost there!)

But there is one special day that we no longer have to wait for. The start of the NFL season is here!

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America is celebrating. For the 30th straight year, American sports fans said football is their favorite sport. In a January 2014 Harris Poll survey, NFL football dominated Major League Baseball (14%) and College Football (11%), auto racing (7%) the NBA (6%), the NHL (5%) and college basketball (3%). Football’s popularity is rising fast, up 11% from 2013.

Now we can have some fun. Is anybody going to dethrone the Seahawks? Is anybody in the AFC preventing a Super Bowl rematch? Will the Chicago Bears defense improve enough to help the offense make the playoffs? (My favorite team) Will Johnny Football start games in 2014?

There are other questions millions of fans will be asking, every week, all season long. For example, here’s my question for the day: Should my Mississippi Muscleheads of the ESPN Iron Giant Fantasy Football League start Cam Newton today or Phillip Rivers? Pierre Thomas or Mark Ingram? Fantasy football adds another level of enjoyment to the game and allows us to interact and be a part of something fun. It’s not too late to play if you want to get in on the excitement!

For me, football has always been a faithful friend. As a child, I could count on football when I couldn’t count on my spine to hold me upright. It kept me company when I was left out of the neighborhood snow ball fight. As a teen and young man, it gave me a canvass to develop my art as a writer and broadcaster. As a man, it gave me purpose when I drove my sons to practices and games and camps. And in recent years, through a television mounted high on the wall of a hospital room, it kept me from panicking as my heart failed.

Having a passion, a strong and barely controllable emotional response to something is good for your inner strength. Football is one of mine. Speaking, writing, fishing, boating, traveling are among others. But I would shut up, get off the keyboard, stay on land and stay home for a long time rather than give up my NFL!

What are you passionate about?

College Football’s Race to Equality

Today’s Southern Miss vs. Alcorn Game Marks a Milestone in Race Relations

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By Greg Smith

Fans of college football are struggling today to find interesting match-ups, but there is one game on the schedule that I find very appealing. We won’t be able to watch it on TV. It is insignificant in the grand scheme of college football. It will have no bearing on the rankings or the NCAA playoff picture. You might have to concentrate to hear the score on Sportscenter.

Nevertheless, the game has historical significance and serves as a barometer of the state of tolerance and acceptance in our society. The University of Southern Mississippi hosts Alcorn State University.

Despite only winning one game in two years, the Southern Miss Golden Eagles are 18 point favorites. 56 years ago, in 1958, when my father was a freshman quarterback at Alcorn, there would be no spread because the game would never have been played. Alcorn, an all-black school in Lorman, Mississippi, competed in the all-black Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) and only faced competition from other SWAC schools. Black schools were never able to test their power against all-white schools from the major universities.

In 1958, Southern Miss rolled to a 9-0 record and an NCAA Division II National Championship. Players such as Hugh McInnis, Bob Yencho, George Sekul, Willie Coats and J.C. Arban led the way for USM. That same year, Alcorn struggled through a forgettable 0-9 season. None of their players even made the SWAC all-star team.

In 1958, the field was wide open for Southern Miss to compete for talent with any other program in college football. Southern Miss was capable of attracting very high quality athletes and they recruited the best that were available to them. But there was one talent pool they and the other major colleges couldn’t, and didn’t want to access: Black players. The best African American players in the country were exclusively on black college rosters.

If Alcorn had played USM in 1958, a reasonable person would assume that a 9-0 team would beat an 0-9 team, right? Southern Miss probably would have won the game, but that same reasonable person would have to admit that it would have been “a game” and not a rout. Honestly, who knows what would have happened.

The landscape has changed.

Tonight’s Southern Miss lineup will feature 20 of 22 black starters. In 1958, those 20 players (or players like them) would be wearing Alcorn’s purple and gold against the Golden Eagles. 9-0 vs. 0-9? Throw the records out and enjoy the game.

In this game, the tables are somewhat turned. Southern Miss is rebuilding, recovering from a 1-11 season 2013. Alcorn enjoyed a 9-3 season last year. Anything less than a SWAC championship would be a disappointment for a team that is returning 9 starters on offense in a pass oriented attack.

“I don’t care who your daddy is.”

Legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant was famously quoted as saying, “I don’t care who your daddy is,” when addressing players on his team. He didn’t mean that in all reality.  He did care.  So did university presidents, boosters and the media.  They cared if your father was black.  I wish that quote had been true back in the day, but if Alcorn coach Jay Hopson said it today, the truth would ring out!  Hopson is the first white head coach at a historically black college. I’m glad we live in a free society where people are given opportunities based on their skills.  Tonight, let’s toss race and record aside and enjoy what looks to be an interesting matchup.

My parents met at Alcorn. (I wouldn’t even be here without Alcorn!) My sister graduated from there. Countless aunts, uncles and cousins got their education in the forests of Lorman, Mississippi. Today, I’m pulling for the upset. Go Braves!  I’m predicting a close game and Alcorn pulling off the upset.  Feel free to make me suffer if I’m wrong in the comments section below.

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Happy Friday! Appreciate This Weekend!

Happy Friday!  Those two words should be forever united because sometimes, we get so involved in the battle for success that we don’t appreciate the special moments in life.  We work so hard that we are too tired to enjoy the fruits of our labor.  Our hunger to attain more doesn’t allow us to appreciate what we already have.  I suggest that you take a moment to think about how you are going to reward yourself this weekend. Instead of focusing on what you need to do to get what you don’t yet have, focus on appreciation.

Appreciate Saturday.  Appreciate your friends and family.  Appreciate your health, the weather, the music you hear, and the football games you watch. Smile and wave at others who are doing the same thing.  You’ll be able to spot them instantly. Appreciate your weekend and take all that positive energy into next week, which will empower you to have the most productive work week you’ve had all year.  The universe won’t reward you if you don’t appreciate it.  Make tomorrow the best Saturday you’ve every had.  Make a memory.

I have two memories I want to share with you as examples of days I will appreciate forever.  The first involves a special day in my life years ago when I went fishing with my dad, uncle and cousin.  Here’s the video documentation.

Another very special day was Memorial Day, 2014… last week!  Again on the water with my dad and this time with two uncles.  We didn’t catch very many fish.  It was hot as hell.  The anchor would catch on the bottom. But the conversation we shared was truly special.  We were four significant, powerful men enjoying our holiday. Our crew:

  • My dad, James Smith, the first African American corporate CEO in his industry who is now retired
  • My uncle John Carlos, famous worldwide for his raised fist in protests of racism in America as he stood on the platform to receive his medal at the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City
  • My uncle Robert Smith, a leader in the civil rights group Student Nonviolent Coodinating Committee (SNCC)

We talked about fishing, sports, the police, ISIS, traveling, women, our family, and other topics.  I learned more about my dad from the stories my uncles told.  I was relaxing, appreciating and enjoying, recharging for what turned out to be a very productive week.

A person trying to get in shape can’t lift weights every day.  You need time for the muscles to heal.  The same is true with building your inner strength. This weekend, relax, enjoy, appreciate and you’ll feel tremendous inner strength going into next week.

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My dad, James Smith, retired corporate executive

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My uncle, John Carlos, Olympian, Historic Icon, Speaker, Author

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My uncle, Bob Smith, civil rights leader, SNCC organizer, community advocate

Did Michael Sam Kiss NFL Career Goodbye?

Update: Sam signs with Cowboys practice squad

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Michael Sam was a league leader in sacks this preseason.

“It was a football decision.” That’s what St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher said about signing Michael Sam in May and about cutting him from the team in August.  Hogwash.

The first openly gay player ever drafted into the National Football League is now jobless, getting cut by the Rams and passed over by every other team in the National Football League.

Sam was one of the most productive defensive linemen in the entire league this preseason, finishing with three sacks, and eleven tackles, ten of which were solos.  Every other player who had two or more sacks this preseason has a job in the league today.  Before cutting Sam, reports indicated that Fisher would welcome Sam to the “practice squad” if he cleared waivers.  That didn’t happen either.  I wonder why.

Sealed with a kiss?

Sam may have literally kissed his NFL career goodbye the moment he was drafted.  Had he just hugged, and not entertained an Oprah Network reality show and acted like a humble rookie, he might have a spot.  He might have had an opportunity to show the world that a person should be able to follow his passion, do his job, and contribute to a team despite his decisions about who to love.

I’ve read many articles and found several tweets and quotes from Rams players welcoming Sam on draft day, but aside from training camp support expressed by teammate Chris Long, those sentiments have faded.  The quotes about Sam are coming from the head coach, who (and I’m speculating) may have allowed the herd of his players (male sheep) to shepherd him in making the decision.

The Rams have plenty of justification.  Their depth at defensive line is stronger than many teams.  Nine at the position rated higher than Sam based on their position flexibility, athleticism and experience.  But none outplayed him on the football field this preseason.  Not even the undrafted rookie free-agent Ethan Westbrooks, who finished with two sacks and nine tackles and made the team.  In fairness to the Rams, playing time leads to better stats and in the preseason it is given to people who need to prove themselves more.

Michael Sam is qualified to be a player in the National Football League, but unfortunately, he may have showed up on the scene a tad bit too early.  He should continue to try to meet with teams.  Maybe somebody will recognize that they need him.  Now, like hundreds of talented football players on the bubble of their NFL dreams, he will have to continue to stay in football shape and stay in touch with general managers and coaches around the league.  Someday, there will be a tipping point where the needs of the team from a skill set standpoint outweigh the fears of distraction and loss of team unity.

I believe in freedom.  I’ve written about and spoken about disability rights,  racial equality,  and the rights of women.  This is the first time I have ever expressed myself publicly about gay rights.  But for a guy to lead the league in sacks and not even land on a practice squad anywhere?  Enough is enough.

It is ironic that the backdrop of this story is St. Louis, the fixation of the eyes of the world because of intolerance.  They call St. Louis the “Gateway City.”  Gateway to what?  Police brutality and homophobia?  Unfortunately, Michael Sam’s struggle has to continue because I don’t think the players in the league are ready.  What do you think?

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Update Analysis: Hopefully, I was wrong!