|Chris Jericho's scarf doesn't make him more or less manly or "straight"|
Photo Credit: WWE.com
Maybe I might have had less of a problem if Trips had come out and said that Jericho dressed like a homosexual or Jericho saying only girls wear pink. At least they would have worn their feelings on their sleeves. Fuck, they might have well just come out and advertised their preconceived notions about what manly men wear. If you want to be accepted, you need to dress a certain way. In the face of that segment, the intolerance of wardrobe choices that aren't acceptable, JBL, Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler stumping for Sam to be employed and feigning this outrage felt so hollow.
The MO for Sam not latching onto a NFL team right now is that he underperformed. The 2013 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year began the offseason as a third-round NFL draft projection, but then he came out of the closet. His stock sank like a stone slowly but surely to the point where he was drafted in the seventh and final round of the actual draft process. He had a terrible combine, sure, but his training camp and preseason performances showed promise.
However, his homosexuality was too different for the NFL culture, and not even the locker room one at that. His teammates, both at Missouri and on the St. Louis Rams, were in full support of him. But it was the fans and especially the media and cowards in the front offices who bought into this whole "distraction" nonsense. No one will come out and say the reason why he's so radioactive right now is because of his open sexuality, but the writing is on the proverbial wall.
But Vince McMahon has never met a nuclear isotope he didn't like, so he's extended the microphone to Sam next week on RAW. I doubt he'll take it, and furthermore, I almost guarantee that if WWE isn't too enamored with the idea of Damien Sandow as Miz's stunt double that he'll fill the role should Sam decline. To WWE's credit, everyone outside of the narrative seems to be super-supportive of and progressive towards the plight of homosexuals in America. The company's public support of Darren Young and Pat Patterson is encouraging, but much in the same way that Trips and Jericho traded insinuations that their respective wardrobes made them gay or feminine, and thus inferior, WWE's macho bullshit narrative within the show makes their support of gay performers seem all the more dubious.
Seriously, supporting Young, Patterson, and now Sam publicly is great, but when it comes at the expense of trading homophobic barbs for the adoration of the morally backwards fans who haven't met a gay joke they didn't like, then the disconnect looms far too largely. It's like WWE is opening up the door for queer fans to come right in but as soon as they step into the door, they're greeted with stuff like "lol pink ties and scarves of any color are gay," or John Cena making gendered insults towards various wrestlers, or even worse, celebrating someone like The Rock whose entire career has been built upon homophobia and transphobia. Where does the company think those fans are going to go once they're greeted with that wave of bullshit? Certainly not to their assigned seats or on their couches with the channel tuned to USA Network.
I wish that people within WWE would take a look at the expanse of fans that is underserved by the sporting and sports entertainment industry, realize that it controls its own output, and can make the show entirely welcoming for everyone no matter the demographic. Some of my most interesting and friendliest contacts and friends online fit those demographics, and I love interacting with them about wrestling, WWE or otherwise, for them to be pushed away. Then I wouldn't have to cringe whenever Cool Dad and Wolf Dick trade insults with each other like grade schoolers. More importantly, I wouldn't have to audibly groan when I see that WWE has opened the floor to someone like Sam and wonder aloud how badly the company is going to fuck his appearance up.