Republican lobbyist threatens to ‘financially rough up’ any NFL team which drafts Michael Sam

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

A US Republican Lobbyist has taken aim at any NFL team willing to draft openly gay player Michael Sam, saying the team will “get roughed up financially”.

Michael Sam, a University of Missouri football player came out in an ESPN interview on 9 February.

Jack Burkman earlier this year called for openly gay NFL players to be banned because of shower situations, and began to lose clients.

In his statement, Burkman said: “Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That’s a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?”

In a press release sent on Friday, Burkman has said he will go further, threatening that “he will leverage his political clout to make sure that team [which takes on Sam] gets roughed up financially.”

He writes: “We shall exercise our First-Amendment rights and shall not stop until the drafting NFL franchise cannot sell a single ticket, jersey or autographed football.” NB – many have noted that the First Amendment would not apply in this instance.

“In short, we shall be relentless.” It continues: “Burkman says his group is building a coalition of evangelical Christian leaders from across the nation to take part in a protest if Sam is drafted.”

It goes on: “The NFL may not fear boycotts from the populist right… The NFL like most of the rest of American business is about to learn that when you trample the Christian community and Christian values, there will be a terrible financial price to pay.”

If selected by a team in the upcoming NFL draft Michael Sam would make history as the sport’s first openly gay and serving professional player.

Burkman continues to push the American Decency Act of 2014, which would ban openly gay athletes.