updated 02/13/2014 AT 4:30 PM ET
•originally published 02/13/2014 AT 10:00 AM ET
On Sunday, the University of Missouri’s star football player Michael Sam publicly stated, “I am an openly, proud gay man.”
Sam is poised to be the first openly gay player in NFL history. Following his announcement, the SEC’s defensive player of the year is expected to be only a third-to-fifth round NFL draft pick – a prediction Dallas newscaster Dale Hansen took issue with.
Hansen, a sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA, used two minutes of the channel’s Monday night newscast to deliver a segment called “Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating Our differences.” In the monologue, Hansen speaks frankly to the NFL officials and sports pundits who have said Sam’s sexuality makes him unwelcome in the “man’s world” of football.
“You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You’re the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy’s welcome,” Hansen observes. “Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they’re welcome.”
“Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We’re comfortable with that. You love another man? Well, now you’ve gone too far,” he continues.
The sports anchor concludes his speech with a reminder that it’s important to recognize and celebrate one another’s differences.
“I’m not always comfortable when a man tells me he’s gay; I don’t understand his world,” Hansen shares. “But I do understand that he’s part of mine.”
The powerful segment is rapidly making the rounds on social media. Hansen is amazed by the reach of his speech, as he told The Huffington Post, and is touched by the hundreds of “overwhelmingly positive” emails he has received in response.
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