Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay to the public just last night, but his teammates and coaches have all known since before the beginning of last season. The Tigers went 12-2 this year, tying a school record for victories, and maybe proving that having a gay player on your team is not an obstacle to success. (Especially when he happens to be your best player.) In fact, even though the Tigers kept Sam's story a secret, they made it a habit to tell everyone how great their team chemistry was.
NFL observers are already questioning (anonymously, of course) whether the league is ready for openly gay player who won't create a tragic "chemical imbalance" in the locker room, which is a nice way of saying that no one wants to deal with the potential for bigotry among other teammates. For Missouri, however, not only was there no "chemical imbalance," Tiger players and coaches couldn't stop talking how much they like each other. Numerous quotes from throughout the season — after teammates learned the news, but before Sam's personal details became public — show a Missouri team constantly harping on their great chemistry.
For example, in October, head coach Gary Pinkel was asked about the overall team chemistry after Missouri walloped Florida to go to 7-0. "I saw this back in August and I told a lot of different people about it. It doesn't surprise me," Pinkel said. (August, coincidentally, was the same month Sam came out to his teammates.) "There is chemistry and determination on this team," Pinkel also told The New York Times. "A combination of both of those and high leadership skills affects the whole team."