CNN: NFL Hopeful's Coming Out A 'Landmark Moment in Confronting Homophobia' in Sports

Monday's New Day on CNN hyped University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam "making history" with his revelation that "I'm a football player, and I'm gay." John Berman gushed, "Six foot-two, 255 pounds – a big guy, Michael Sam – strong guy. But you want to see real strength? It's what he's doing right now." Berman later heralded Sam's revelation as "a landmark moment in confronting homophobia in professional sports."

Michaela Pereira played up how "it shows how much his teammates respect him that they didn't reveal this. They allowed him to come out with this, and say, this is my news – I'm revealing I'm gay. It's really powerful." However, Chris Cuomo, who recently acclaimed rapper Macklemore's pro-LGBT activism track, surpassed his co-anchors in his over-the-top reaction to the Sam potentially becoming the first openly-homosexual NFL player: [MP3 audio available here; video below the jump]

CHRIS CUOMO: I hope the good teams pass on him, so the Jets can get him. That would be awesome....At the end of the day, he's an amazing football player, and it will be great when it's the day when that's all that matters – you know? That will be a great day to be sure.            

Cuomo led the CNN show with the "breaking news," an hour before the Big Three networks celebrated Sam's announcement on their morning newscasts: "Is the NFL about to get its first openly-gay player? Michael Sam, defensive end from the University of Missouri, made the revelation in an ESPN interview this weekend. Sam is a first team All-American, as a senior this past season; one of the most skilled defensive players imaginable; a shoo-in for the NFL. But what is making headlines, of course, is his sexuality."

Berman wasted little time before using his "real strength" line about the University of Missouri football player, and continued by proclaiming that "All-American defensive end and NFL hopeful Michael Sam [is] making history – revealing that he's gay in interviews with ESPN and the New York Times....If he's drafted this spring, Sam will become the first openly-gay player in the National Football League."

The CNN anchor spent the bulk of his report playing soundbites from Sam, and spotlighting the positive reaction from the NFL and from some of his college teammates. Berman used his "landmark moment" phrase near the end, just before playing his final clip from the NFL hopeful. He then underlined the possible negative fallout from the announcement in terms of the NFL draft:

JOHN BERMAN: Now, Sam is going public now because he wants to tell his story on his terms before the NFL draft. You know – and lest anyone think this is easy and he's going to be welcomed with open arms by all NFL teams– Sports Illustrated did an article that came out overnight where they talked to personnel directors at some of the NFL teams, and there are managers at these teams who say his draft prospects will drop because of these revelations. The teams don't want the controversy that will surround this.

Co-anchor Kate Bolduan, along with Berman, Pereira and Cuomo, ended the segment by raving about the "breaking news:"


KATE BOLDUAN: Regardless, you said it. This guy knows who he is. He is very strong. He's very confident. He knows who he is.

MICHAELA PEREIRA: And it shows how much his teammates respect him that they didn't reveal this. They allowed him to come out with this, and say, this is my news – I'm revealing I'm gay. It's really powerful.

BERMAN: And Missouri was what – number-five in the nation this year. They play in the SEC. It's sounds like a joke. I'm not really kidding. This is pro-football basically already. This shows that players will accept someone who's gay. If he's accepted there, I really do think there will be a team which brings him into the NFL, and will let him play and he'll play well.

CUOMO: I hope the good teams pass on him, so the Jets can get him. (Bolduan laughs) That would be awesome.

PEREIRA: Does he have that turn so quickly?

BERMAN: This whole time, you've been thinking about one thing.

CUOMO: At the end of the day, he's an amazing football player, and it will be great when it's the day when that's all that matters-

BOLDUAN: That's what matters – right-

CUOMO: You know? That will be a great day to be sure.

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center