Even though baseball season has finally arrived, the focus of last weekend's TV sports was the annual draft of college players to join teams in the National Football League. This year's selection was the first of its kind since Michael Sam, an open homosexual who “came out” in February, was among the hundreds of young men hoping to make the leap to professional sports.
After the African-American candidate joined the St. Louis Rams as the 249th pick, Sam's enthusiastic hug and kiss of Vito Cammisano -- his male partner -- became the focus of liberal comedian Stephen Colbert during Monday's version of The Colbert Report, when the host used a football theme by blowing a whistle and tossing a yellow penalty flag in the air for “Holding!” and “Unnecessary Tenderness!”
“If you managed to watch some TV this weekend, I hope you caught up on the NFL Draft,” the Comedy Central host began the segment, “because it's the only place these days you can see college graduates getting jobs.”
“As always,” he joked, “the big story was: 'Which player will be the number one pick of the last eight picks of the seventh round?'”
After showing a clip of Sam being selected, Colbert aired a statement by ABC newsman George Stephanopolous proudly declaring that history was made in the NFL since “Sam was the first openly gay player ever drafted.”
Colbert then drew upon his faux conservative character to announce that “Michael Sam's war on traditional gridiron values started as soon as he got the phone call.”
The host then showed a video of Sam talking on the telephone as a male voice noted: “This is the moment when Michael Sam got the news that he is going to be a member of the St. Louis Rams.”
Sam responded by leaning over before enthusiastically hugging his partner and engaging in several long kisses.
At that point, Colbert blew a whistle and tossed a yellow penalty flag in the air. Using the NFL motion, he joked that he was penalizing Sam for “Holding!”
For his second penalty, the host gestured at his heart and mimicked tears running down his face before declaring Sam had been guilty of exhibiting “Unnecessary Tenderness!”
“Folks, this is just wrong,” Colbert declared. “In the NFL, sexuality is supposed to take place off camera, and the fans should only find out about it when the charges are filed.”
“I'm upset,” he stated sarcastically, “and I'm not the only one.”
His image was then replaced with a tweet from Don Jones, a safety with the Miami Dolphins, that read: “OMG. Horrible.”
According to a press release issued by the Dolphins on Monday, “Jones has been fined an undisclosed amount and excused from all team activities until such time that he undergoes and completes educational training for his recent comments made on social media during the NFL Draft.”
The message from Jones was then replaced by a tweet from Derrick Ward, a former running back for the New York Giants and a member of the Super Bowl championship team of 2007.
“I'm sorry, but Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national TV,” he stated. “[M]an, U got the little kids lookin' at the draft. I can't believe ESPN even allowed that to happen.”
“Yeah, no bueno,” Colbert mocked. “Kids are watching. Now we'll have to answer their uncomfortable questions, like 'Daddy, can we stop watching the seventh round of the NFL draft? It's been 48 hours, and I want to go to sleep.”
The comedian then lowered his voice to sound like the child's father: “Listen up: You can sleep once the [Pittsburgh] Steelers fill the holes in their secondary, young man.”
“Folks, don’t get me wrong,” Colbert continued. “I’m a tolerant guy. I don’t care who you love, as long as you can launch your body at another man’s skull like a missile made of pure hate."
“But this kiss made people uncomfortable,” he added, since it involved “some hardcore, close-lipped brief and affectionate pecking.”
As Newsbusters previously reported, on Monday's edition of NBC Today, co-host Matt Lauer asked: "Is this a sea change or is this a one-off? Is this the league moving to the right side of history?"
In addition, the “Big Three” network morning shows hyped the social media “backlash against Michael Sam by claiming it's being fueled by “every creep and cretin" on the Internet.
However, Colbert wasn't the only person at Comedy Central to vent some venom on Monday. Jon Stewart of The Daily Show took on Boko Haram and the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, but he also issued a “f**k you” to Rush Limbaugh for slamming the hashtag activism over the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian girls.