Not every transition will proceed as smoothly as at Missouri last season, when 105 players and an entire staff kept their mouths shut and huddled together to protect one of their own. Sam responded with a season worthy of being named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. Surely the peace of mind he found among teammates who accepted him contributed to his play.
Maybe I'm wrong, but I have a hunch Missouri isn't out of the norm. Tolerance is taught in public schools across the country, and it turns out that the students are paying attention. The rest of us are coming along, too. Missouri associate athletic director Chad Moller said he received perhaps a half dozen media inquiries about Sam's sexual orientation. None of the outlets wanted to expose Sam. Everyone wanted the story.
"It was all very respectful," Moller said.
The NFL scouts and executives who asked if Sam has a girlfriend grew up in a different time. While there have been NFL players who have spoken out against sharing a locker room with a gay teammate, they will say a lot less once it's clear that their attitude is not socially acceptable.
The Missouri Tigers proved last season that a gay man can play football, and attend meetings, and lift weights and, yes, even shower with his teammates and no one will be the worse for wear. The revolution isn't coming. It's already here. As it turns out, it's not that big of a deal.