Coming out of the closet is the hardest thing any gay/lesbian person can and will do. It's telling everybody that you have ever known or associated yourself with that you aren't normal.Whether you like it or not, homosexuals do need to come out of the closet. It is our way of coming to terms with the fact that we're different, that the many years of us putting on a show and pretending to fit in are firmly in our rear-view mirror. If you're indifferent, that's cool, but this means a hell of a lot to the gay community.
Growing up, I knew I was gay, but I kept it a secret because I was ashamed. I played soccer most of my life, starting when I was in elementary school, and ending as a regular starter at my high school. Not once did I sneak a peek at my teammates in the dressing room. I didn't think of them as guys I could be attracted to, they were just my teammates, my family. From the time I pulled up to the stadium to the time I left, the only thing on my mind was winning, and helping my teammates toward that goal as well.
Many people will be worried about how Michael Sam is going to be perceived and handled by opposing fans, and rightfully so. In all honesty, if you've heard one person call you a "fag--t", you've heard it all. He may have a couple growing pains from certain insensitive fans, but overall, he'll be completely fine. Eventually, you just become numb to stuff like that, because you've heard it all. You can brace yourself for what's coming.
Overall, the main reason Sam will be fine in the NFL is because of his teammates. Not because his teammates will protect him from homophobia, but because they'll treat him like one of the guys. I always tell my friends that if they don't make fun of me for being gay, they're not my true friends. When homosexuals come to terms with being gay, we're accepting the fact that we're different. After living the first part of our life as different from the norm, all we want to do from there is to fit in with everyone. Friends rip on each other all the time, and someone's sexuality shouldn't be off-limits like it's some sort of handicap or mental disease. Players that have spoken out against gay teammates simply have this mental image of the stereotypical gay man that will quickly be changed by Michael Sam. He will fit in and will be treated like one of the guys in whichever locker room is lucky enough to have him.