Earlier this week, Missouri defensive end Michael Sam's college coach said certain NFL teams would likely not accept him as the first openly gay pro football player. And then he went and cited the Miami Dolphins by name as one of those teams.
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel singled out the Dolphins specifically and namely because of the Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin fiasco that has engulfed the team over the past year.
But on Wednesday, Dolphins team owner Stephen Ross said that not only would his team welcome Sam if they happened to draft him but that they would do so with open arms.
In a statement released by the team, the Fins say they would not only welcome Sam with open arms but also "as part of our family."
The statement went on to say that the Dolphins' drafting him, or not drafting him, will have nothing to do with Sam's sexual orientation.
If he can help the team win and he's available, he'll be a Dolphin, maybe, supposedly.
New General Manager Dennis Hickey echoed Ross' sentiments about the Fins being totally cool with a guy being openly gay and that the gayness won't be a deciding factor in drafting him or not.
"Michael Sam's announcement is a significant step in sports and I respect the choice that he made publicly," Ross said. General Manager Dennis Hickey, coach Joe Philbin, "and I all agree on the same thing: We'll draft the best players that can help us win football games, have high character and contribute to the community."
Meanwhile, the team awaits independent investigator and attorney Ted Wells' findings on the Incognito-Martin situation. Wells' New York-based firm says the investigation's conclusions will be released either this week or next. All along, it's said they wouldn't come until after the Super Bowl.
So this could be a genuine sentiment coming from Ross and the Dolphins, or this could be them keeping up with what everyone else in the NFL is saying, or this could be them trying a preemptive statement before the Wells findings are released.
Either way, we suppose it's a good thing Ross came out and said this.
Really, even though he signs the checks, it's not up to him if the Dolphins welcome Sam or not. Evidently he probably won't, given the lack of leadership in the locker room and given Dolphins' players' indifference on the matter.
We'd love it if the Dolphins drafted Sam. Historically it would be a great move for this franchise.
And if he helps win games, even better.
But coming from the franchise that is right now known only for a general manager who once asked a prospect if his mother was a whore and for being the face of bullying, we're not gonna hold our breaths for that happening.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.