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Colbert Says Steelers Do Not Discriminate Against Players Based On Their Sexual Orientation


Now that Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam has come out publicly to say that he is gay, many are debating what it will do to his draft stock and how if it will affect how teams judge him. On Monday, it appears as though Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert released a short statement via Mike Prisuta on Twitter as it relates to the matter.

"We do not discriminate against any players based on their sexual orientation,” Colbert has announced per the Prisuta tweet.

If indeed this is a recent releases by Colbert, he is not alone in doing so as Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery also released a similar statement on Monday, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In it, Emery said the following: “It is about his [Michael Sam] skill set as a football player to add positively to a team’s goals and that’s how he will be evaluated.”

Just last April, the NFL sent a memo to teams and players that reiterated the league's sexual orientation anti-discrimination and harassment policy guidelines after some draft-eligible prospects said they were asked about their sexual orientation during meetings with teams at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

I'm sure that Colbert and Emery won't be the only two general managers to release statements saying that they do not discriminate when it comes to sexual orientation of a player, but is it really necessary for them to do this? Is it really necessary for organizations to comment on this?

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • steeltown

    I think people are just trying to get on board.

    Side note: Is Sam projected as 3-4 OLB? At his size he could be.. if he falls in the draft we should grab him, he had a really solid senior season

  • Caesar

    He seems to be in between 3-4 and 4-3, but not ideal for either; too small and not powerful enough for 4-3, not enough coverage ability for 3-4. Saw one article with an anonymous GM thinking he wasn’t draft able even before he announced this.

  • Bradys_Dad

    I agree, if the man can play – he can play. Period. I think that most organizations are going to be more concerned about the distraction factor vs. the ROI as opposed to anyone’s sexual orientation. Let’s call it the Tebow Effect. I for one think this guy has a nice future in the NFL. Just not sure who wants to be the modern era Branch Ricky. Discrimination just sucks.

  • steeltown

    Really? This guy has alot of tackles for loss and good sack numbers his senior year. He sure as heck doesn’t seem like a 4-3 guy in the pros

  • steeltown

    Aha just read a write up about him saying he struggled when trying OLB at the senior bowl and his transition to a 3-4 is in doubt…

  • Zachary Smith

    Tough to learn a new position in one game

  • http://thereactionblog.com Michael Stickings

    Sadly, yes. As we’ve seen from some of the anonymous comments from NFL team officials/personnel since the news broke, including in Peter King’s MMQB today, there appears to be fairly entrenched anti-gay bias in the NFL. There is throughout society, yes, but this is an organization, probably the most powerful and influential sports league in North America, that can actually enforce a stringent non-discrimination policy that can have an impact on the country as a whole (and on those in other countries who follow the NFL). If the NFL shows that it is welcoming of gay players, just as once MLB had to show it was welcoming of black players, that will go a long way toward furthering acceptance generally.

    I would actually be very proud if the Steelers drafted Sam. I’m not saying they should overvalue him, but he has shown extraordinary courage/character to go along with fairly significant talent/skills. Certainly he’d be worth a third or in the Steelers’ case fourth round pick, especially given our lack of depth at the OLB spot.

    But I’m also proud of the Steelers for being a genuinely progressive organization, a model for the NFL. I see this from the very top, the Rooney family, through Colbert and team executives, to Tomlin, to Steelers Nation as a whole. There’s been an outpouring of positive sentiment to Sam’s announcement from all corners of the football world, and beyond, and that’s fantastic, but I do think this is a major moment for the NFL, an occasion for every one of its teams to stand united against discrimination.

  • chris ward

    Micheal Sam’s draft projection should be solely on his tape and not his sexual orientation.

  • steeltown

    Of course.

  • James Kling

    He’s the same height as Jarvis Jones (6’2″), but a bit beefier (260#) than Jones when he tested (245#), and his estimated 40 time is 4.74, as opposed to Jones’s 4.90 40. I don’t see why he couldn’t be coached up WRT cover skills. Plenty of former DEs have had success converting from DE to OLB. Woodley and Worilds were both DEs.
    Not draftable? I think most decent draft prognosticators had him slotted around R3, don’t think this is going to drop him, frankly. If he falls to R4 he’d be an excellent addition to depth and developmental talent.
    Jones – 168 tackles, 45.5 TFL, 28 sacks, 1 INT (3 seasons)
    Sam – 99 tackles, 29 TFL, 17.5 sacks, 1 INT (last 3 seasons)
    Jones had better stats, but Sam was very productive.

  • Caesar

    Most of the draft types like Mayock have him as a 3-5 round guy, yes. The not-draft-at-all comment was from an anonymous GM quoted in Peter King’s MMQB today,

  • Craig Ressler

    Should his draft stock drop because of his sexual orientation? No. Do I believe his draft stock will ultimately drop because of his sexual orientation? Yes. Do I think it is necessary for organizations to comment on this? No. Would I be an advocate for the Steelers to draft him? No. Me personally, I wouldn’t want all that comes with drafting him. If you draft him, you are getting much more than simply a football player. What I mean by that is there would undoubtedly be a lot of media attention and distraction that would come with drafting him that I would be completely fine without and would be completely fine with another team dealing with. I believe some team will “break that barrier” (as one veteran scout put it) and draft him, but I hope that team is not the Steelers based on the concerns mentioned above, not because he is a homosexual as such.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    What should Colbert or any other GM say to the media?

  • Brian Miller

    Exactly…it is lipservice…no one will ever know one way or the other whether people commenting on this really don’t care, or if they let feelings alter draft boards. My first thought is who cares, but then again, I’m not in his position, so if this makes him feel better and he is happy then more power to him. Just don’t expect everyone to condone the lifestyle…

  • george

    we need depth at olb but if he cant contribute right away i wouldnt take him higher than 5th round. too much of a chance with these “tweeners” transitioning from 4-3 ends to 3-4 olb.

  • george

    agree and as a “tweener” switching to the 3-4 olb position he shouldnt be taken higher than 5th round. dont reach to prove how progressive we are.

  • CrazyTerry

    I highly doubt any team will reach for him. If he is still there in the 6th or 7th round, take him. That is assuming the news that he was rated as a 4th rounder is true.

  • bonairsfavoriteson

    And Jarvis Jones was the sack leader in college football last year, fbs. NFL is a different world, ask, our offensive tackles, ask any number of number one picks the last several years, ask vince young, comparing apples and pancakes, he is a tweener with out position skills, but if he can make it, good for him, if he can’t it will be because he simply can’t.

  • sean mcmartin

    Exactly. In this salem witch hunt world we live in. if you give your beliefs and it differs from the masses your a racist or homophobe.
    All corporations have to be PC in this world

  • RedCarpetDefense

    This team has too many needs that can be better addressed by taking players who fit that need. He seems like a classic “tweener” DE/OLB but also seems too much of a project. Last I checked the Steelers don’t have a NEED for a 4-3 DE playing out of position as an OLB. With our 1st, 2nd and 3rd picks CB, S and OLB should be addressed in regards to defense. WR or TE (possibly) if they’re looking at offense. This team may look to double dip at a couple positions like CB and S there may not be enough picks available to the Steelers to select him.

  • Steve

    Too little, James Harrison was 6-0 and Aaron Donald is 6-0 too small is in the mind but if you can play it don’t matter the hight.

  • Steve

    Read an article on Vince Young. He never studyed and was not a student of the game who though his athletic ability could get him to the top.

  • Steve

    Probably be Jerry Jones, he loves publicity and the media. That kiss ass jones will think he went to Hollywood.

  • CrazyTerry

    what are you saying? So if the media did not put pressure, it is OK to not take a gay player even if his skills mean he deserves a spot in a certain round? What is wrong about an exec saying they wont discriminate?

    And yes, corporations cannot discriminate, you know why? Because the NFL has a monopoly. Or when Delta has a hub in Atlanta, guess what, very few other airlines can compete. Your cable company has a monopoly in your area.

  • CrazyTerry

    Typical reaction. You say you don’t care acting like you are above all this, but then your final statement shows that you do care. All Colbert said is he won’t be punished for his orientation. No one is talking about giving him special rights.

  • CrazyTerry

    What breaks the Steelers are players like Woodley who show no leadership and have been part of the defense being an overpaid underperforming injury plagued unit.

  • CrazyTerry

    Dick Lebeau is not the same caliber of human being as the jerk of a special teams coach of MN. I highly doubt locker room leaders like Polamalu will marginalize this guy if hehas a good work ethic. I am not sure if the Steelers will take him in the round he would be slated at, but if he is available a couple of rounds lower, you can’t pass up on the value. It’s not like Steelers get much out of the final rounds anyway. It’s worth a gamble.

  • Craig Ressler

    Thing is you never really now how Sam will or will not be received under these circumstances. Yes, he could be well received and all go well. But at the same time, all you need is some who have homophobic tendencies and all of a sudden you have a problem, and one that isn’t insignificant, that didn’t exist before you drafted him and one that could have been prevented. To me it is just something I wouldn’t want to give an opportunity to happen, and one that could be avoided by simply letting someone else draft him.

  • sean mcmartin

    I’m saying in this current world we live in if your beliefs are not pro gay . You are not allowed to give your opinion without people like you trying to scrutinize and make judgements. This is america and I can like or dislike whatever I choose. And yes I would not pick a gay player.
    if you don’t agree ..so what

  • sean mcmartin

    And you know this how? are you a coach ? Do you know woodley ?

  • sean mcmartin

    so if you do not agree in homosexuality ..you said it,,Your a homophobic. sounds like your quick to make judgements on anyone who doesn’t support your views on gays.

  • Shawn Winbush

    the Steeler have found several gems in later rounds. AB-7TH rd, C Allen-4th rd,K Beachum-7th rd,V Williams-6th rd,J Dwyer-6th rd,UDFA- R Foster,W Johnson,C Wallace to name some. I agree I would gamble on Sam though.And I agree that if he is a player,the Steeler organization and locker room would receive him very positively.

  • CrazyTerry

    I didn’t meant to just throw away a late round pick on this guy. But if he is truly rated to be a 4th rounder or so, then sure, he would be worth a gamble in the 6th or 7th round. Was AB 6th round? wow, for some reason , I thought he was 5th. What a steal.

  • James Kling

    Depends on their plans with Worilds.

  • Craig Ressler

    Not at all my friend. I don’t hate gays, nor did my comments express any hatred or disdain. I was just simply stating what all teams will be faced with when it comes to drafting him regardless if their front offices agree with homosexuality or not. They will simply have to weigh the reward/risk factor, that’s all. While I personally would not have a problem playing in any sport or whatever with a homosexual we both know that our entire culture is not as tolerant and accepting yet. There are still people in our society that resist the notion and who mistreat those of the same sex preference. That is the risk whether we agree if that is the way things should be or not. And let’s be completely fair and honest, if anybody is “quick to make judgments,” it is you being quick to judge me.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    lol sean. I respect people who are not afraid to give their beliefs whether it is Sam Martin or Sean McMartin

  • Dan

    Gee Kevin, way to be bold! Did you scour the employee handbook yourself for that statement or did it come from the heart?

  • Dan

    Yeah you can’t ignore his performance this year, so obviously we should consider him if still available in a late round, just not sure if we should hold a roster spot for somebody that is so situational. How is he on special teams? Does he have the frame to add weight?
    As for him coming out; it may have been partially tactical since so many people arleady knew. Better to have it out there than living in “rumorville” forever. I would put as a plus in his character column. Props for showing guts and being proud of who you are. A team that drafts him will probably need to pay more attention to the locker room; have some sensitivity coaches on standby and be ready for a little extra media attention on the draft day, but probably not much else. Should take no more extra “handling” than a player with a DUI or some domestic situation.

  • steeltown

    The media will be all over this guy (and the Team that drafts him) his entire rookie year, might not be worth it unless he falls in the draft and we get good value.. and I base that off of not only the media frenzy but also the fact that he doesn’t initally project well as 3-4 OLB

  • Dan

    I would guess the frenzy might not be that bad. I know there are so many sports networks now with so much time to fill, but I think the story might get stale pretty fast. It will be a major frenzy at the combine, perhaps during the draft and a bit during training camp. Assuming the Hernandez trail deflects much of the “tabloidly” type coverage, it may not be too bad. I could be wrong.
    What may be interesting is if the team is in a tight must-win game, somebody just has to say, “Did you hear that guy call Sam a f*g?” The troops rally and win the game!
    But the bottom line remains, he’s likely not the best fit for the Steelers scheme..but still 5th rd talent is still value in the 7th.

  • Dan

    BTW – when do they determine what team is featured in “Hard Knocks”? If it’s after the draft and the team that drafts him is mandated to participate…there’s pretty much a gaurantee you’re the team on the show.

  • steeltown

    quite possibly

  • tim

    at six foot two and 260 pounds he has the makings of an outside linebacker if he can adapt

  • Brian Miller

    CrazyTerry, trust me, when I want to infer something to you, you will know it. How am I acting like I am above it? I don’t think Sam should be drafter any higher OR lower because of his sexual orientation. If you understand what my post says, and like I believe what Sean is saying, that if you not only accept someone coming out that is gay, but then also condone the behavior, then the tendency is for a large part of society to call you a homophobe, or a bigot, or discriminatory, etc. My only point it, he shouldn’t be discriminated against, but don’t expect everyone, me included, to condone it. Don’t read anything else into it, and don’t tell me I am “above all this” when your response starts out with “typical reaction”.

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