The kiss

Johnny Manziel is known as Johnny Football.

Now, Johnny Cash.

Or, Johnny Backup.

Can Manziel play in the NFL? I don't think so. He's the next Ryan Leaf, remember him?


A lot of other teams didn't think Manziel was very special, either. Some considered him to be a No. 1 pick, or at least in the Top 10.

But really, what does Mel Kiper know? Have you ever known a guy named Mel who actually knew what he was talking about?

Me neither.

But Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, the sink-hole of the NFL, midway through the first round. Once you go to Cleveland, you're never heard from again.

Good luck, Johnny.

But enough about him. Let's talk about the Missouri Tigers and who were taken in the draft.

* Defensive end/linebacker Kony Ealy was taken in the second round by the Carolina Panthers.

* Offensive lineman Justin Britt was taken in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks.

* Cornerback E.J. Gaines was taken in the sixth round by the St. Louis Rams.

* Defensive end/linebacker Michael Sam was taken in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams.

Great stuff and congratulations to all of them. But this is not about Kony, Justin, or E.J, this is about Michael.

You may have heard this --- Michael Sam announced he was gay in February, becoming the first openly gay player to enter the NFL Draft.

This announcement wasn't lauded, it was celebrated. As it should have been. His teammates knew before the season started and embraced him.

Sam --- the co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year --- will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in July at the ESPYs, the Academy Awards for sports.

Sam was projected to be a third- to fifth-round draft pick. He wasn't drafted until the seventh round, the 249th pick, eighth from last, by the Rams.

The moment was captured on camera. What moment isn't captured on camera these days?

Sam hugged his partner, a former swimmer for MU, and kissed him. On the lips.

Here's what former Super Bowl champion Derrick Ward Tweeted, typos included.

"I'm sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national TV. Man U got little kid lookin at the draft. I can't believe ESPN even allowed that to happen."

I've interviewed Sam several times, as recently as a few weeks ago at Missouri's spring game. He's a good guy, cordial, polite, well-spoken. And obviously, a great football player.

I'm pulling for him, as I'm sure most of us are.

But the kiss? With the cameras rolling? I would have kissed my wife if I were drafted, especially since I'm 55. Fabulous! I KNEW I could still play.

But I didn't need to see that.

Don't make the situation more difficult than it already is.

Sam should have known as much.