The Dallas Cowboys made history when they signed Michael Sam, the first openly gay National Football League player.
Little did they expect their efforts to encourage equality in sports to be met with news of a planned protest, organised by conservative lobbyists, which is set to see “thousands” of right-wing Christians descend upon Arlington, Texas on Sunday.
There, the Cowboys are set to play their first game of the season against the San Francisco 49ers.
Jack Burkman, who leads the campaign group American Decency, an organisation he says consists of "like-minded individuals who feel that they need to come together and feel like they need to stand up for the deterioration of decency in American sports," confirmed the plans.
In a press release from the group, Burkman stated: "We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled. We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country.
"[Dallas Cowboys owner] Jerry Jones has betrayed American values, Christian values, and his own city’s values. The people of Dallas–and Christians all across this land–are about to make him pay a huge financial price. The Cowboys are no longer America’s team."
Burkham is, of course, the same conservative lobbyist who proposed a bill that would ban gay players entirely from the NFL. He was unsuccessful. He also protested Sam's signing to the St Louis Rams earlier this year.
In a strange sporting twist, WWE invited Sam to make an appearance on its Monday Night Raw wrestling show.
In an open letter posted on WWE.com, the wrestling organisation said: "Exhibiting class and dignity rarely shown in professional sports, Michael Sam, WWE invites you to next Monday's Raw to speak of your struggles to succeed, lessons you have learned along the way, the courage it takes to be yourself and the prospects of your continued journey.
"You are a role model, who, by example, can encourage everyone to stand up and openly be themselves."
Sam is yet to respond to the offer.Reuse content