Just as when first-ever openly gay NFL player Michael Sam was dropped from the St. Louis Rams in August, today's announcement that he's been cut from the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad is likely to inspire two responses. First: This cut is not about sexuality, this is about the game of football. Second: This cut is absolutely about sexuality. At this point, though, both views seem too simplistic.
Sam has been the victim of several close calls all season long. He was a seventh-round draft pick for the Rams, and as a defensive end, he had to fight for a permanent spot on the team against several others in that same position. He eventually lost out, didn't get picked up on waivers, and was picked up for the Cowboys' practice squad shortly after.
Now, Sam has been cut to make way for linebacker Troy Davis on the practice squad. That may make perfect sense for the team. That doesn’t mean that people who had emotionally invested in Sam because of what he stood for aren’t entitled to disappointment—no matter what people who understand the decision logically might say. In other words: Calling the Cowboys' or the Rams' decision to cut Sam homophobic might be an overreach. But it's an understandable overreach.