Michael Sam Protesters Boycott St. Louis Rams, Visa While Supporters Start Online "Kiss-In"
Now that Michael Sam is officially the first out gay man in professional football, supporters and detractors alike are making their opinions known with boycotts and a "kiss-in," or a sit-in with same-sex kissing.
YouTube Michael Sam's now-famous kiss is causing all sorts of uproar.
Conservative Washington, D.C., lobbyist Jack Burkman says he has organized Christian leaders and grassroots organizations in more than twenty states to boycott the St. Louis Rams as well as Visa, the first company to give Sam an advertising contract.
"Visa and the Rams will learn that when you trample the Christian community and Christian values, there will be a terrible financial price to pay," Burkman says. "Openly gay football players send a terrible message to our youth about morality. Somebody needs to step up because the moral fiber of the nation is eroding."
In his commercial for Visa, Sam pumps iron (not a metaphor) while his voiceover dares the viewer to judge him for his athleticism, not his sexuality:
As part of the boycott, Burkman asks Rams fans to stop buying merchandise and going to games. So far, the boycott isn't working; Sam's jersey is selling almost as well as football golden boy Johnny Manziel's.
Despite his focus on religious values, Burkman appears to be focusing his boycott only on the NFL team that drafted a gay man, not on the teams that hire players who kill pedestrians while drunk, assault police officers, rape women, bully teammates or otherwise break the Ten Commandments.
Burkman is also putting his D.C. skills to work by pushing a draft bill through Washington that would ban openly gay players from professional sports, according to the Independent.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the gay-rights spectrum, Huffington Post's Gay Voices editor Michelangelo Signorile asked LGBT people and allies to stage an online kiss-in and support Sam by changing their profile pictures to an image of two same-sex people kissing.
"Gay people need to be kissing more in public," Signorile says on the Huffington Post. "There simply needs to be more queer smooching to desensitize the world."
Sam supporters across the country followed Signorile's lead, tweeting or Facebooking a photo of two men or two women kissing.
Signorile says Sam inspired the Great Facebook Kiss-In, as he's calling the movement, when he kissed his boyfriend Vito Cammisano after hearing from the Rams that he'd been drafted.
"One day in the future we will look back on all this ridiculousness and laugh," Signorile says. "But that's only going to happen if we do exactly this kind of thing a lot."