Christine Brennan / USA Today
The hottest selling rookie jersey in the NFL is Johnny Manziel's. The second best-selling is Sam's. It turns out NFL fans can't wait to buy — and presumably wear — the jersey of a gay man. Who would have predicted that?
Two days ago, Michael Sam was the eighth-to-last man selected in the NFL draft.
Today, he is the most important football player in the nation.
Sam, the first openly gay man to be drafted by an NFL team, has drawn us into conversations that we as a culture were going to get to, sooner or later.
Turns out it's sooner.
Whether it's "The Kiss," or the impact he is going to have on Missouri's anti-gay employment law as a member of the St. Louis Rams, or how good he already is for business in the NFL, Sam has made a stunning debut in the most popular sports league in the country.
If drafting Sam is as good for the bottom line as it appears to be for the Rams, it's also likely to become a significant decision politically in the state.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) said it best when she endorsed this message on Twitter: "Michael Sam could still be fired for just being gay according to MO law. Let's fix that in Jeff City," referring to the state capital of Jefferson City.
Under current Missouri law, an individual can be refused employment because of his or her sexual orientation, Dara Strickland, board president of the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis, said on local television station KSDK.
A bill before the Missouri legislature would protect Sam and others in the LGBT community from discrimination in the workplace.
It's not much of a reach to say Sam has just become the best thing to ever happen to that piece of legislation.