As a general rule, I don’t normally watch the NFL Draft. Oh, if I’m at home, I’ll turn it on and it’s always interesting to see who the No. 1 pick is and who the Chiefs take, etc, etc. But I’m not one of those guys who watch every minute of it or DVR it. And the idea of tailgating at Arrowhead Stadium for the draft seems kind of silly. But hey, live and let live, right? Anyway, I had more interest than usual in this year’s draft, primarily for two reasons. One, I wanted to see if the Chiefs — if given the chance — would draft Johnny Manziel, the Heisman Trophy-winning, hot-shot, punk-acting, wildly-entertaining-on-the-field quarterback from Texas A&M who entered the draft early. The word is that talks on a contract extension between the Chiefs and starting QB Alex Smith — whose current contract will expire at the end of the upcoming season — aren’t going as smoothly as the Chiefs would like, prompting some media types to speculate that the Chiefs were interested in Johnny Football. Second, I wanted to see where Michael Sam, the former Mizzou standout who announced to the world he was gay weeks before the draft, would get drafted. So, I tuned in for the first round last week and was mildly entertained by the constant shots of Manziel after each pick went by and somebody else was drafted and he continued to slide down the board. Incredibly enough, the Chiefs almost got involved in the circus when Manziel was still on the board when the Philadelphia Eagles’ pick rolled around at No. 22. The Chiefs picked at 23 and the Eagles are not in need of a quarterback, so Chiefs fans went crazy. Chiefs Nation saw savior and were salivating at the prospect of Manziel doing the Tomahawk Chop. Anyway, Cleveland — who is in dire need of a quarterback — traded up and snatched Manziel right out from under the Chiefs’ noses. When asked later if they would have drafted Manziel, Chiefs brass clammed up, saying only that “we didn’t have to make that choice, the player was drafted before it was our turn.” Alrighty, then, though I think they actually would have taken him. Manziel could watch and learn under Smith while he plays out the final year of his contract and would certainly cost a lot less than Smith the next couple of years. Plus, KC coach Andy Reid is a noted quarterback maker. Alas, we’ll never know how Manziel would look in Chiefs red, but it should be noted that the Chiefs did eventually draft a quarterback and a good one at that. Georgia’s Aaron Murray holds just about every Southeastern Conference career passing record there is and the only reason he fell to the Chiefs in the fifth round is because he’s coming off a knee surgery. It will be interesting to see what kind of competition he gives Smith and backup QB Chase Daniel. On to Sam. When he came out and told the world he was gay a few months back, the obvious question was asked: will this affect his chances of getting drafted and playing in the NFL? I think after watching what happened during the draft, the answer would have to be: yes, emphatically so. Sam was drafted in the seventh and final round of the draft by the St. Louis Rams, the 249th player drafted overall. Now, getting drafted by an NFL team is a big deal, no matter how many digits are in your pick number. But I somehow find it hard to believe that there were 248 prospects better than Sam, who was a consensus All-American. Not only that, he was the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year. That means that the coaches in the SEC and the media that covers the most formidable conference in college football said there was not a better defensive player in their league last season. The past 10 SEC Defensive Players of the Year were all drafted in the first round, save one — and he went in the second. It’s even harder to believe that Sam fell all the way to the seventh round when you examine some of the 248 players taken before him and the colleges they came from. Not to knock such institutions of higher learning as Lindenwood, Bloomsburg, Furman, Marist, Liberty and Concordia, but I didn’t even know they had football programs. All had players taken before Sam. The Chiefs drafted an offensive lineman from McGill College in Canada before Sam was picked. Heck, even D-II Northwest Missouri State and Pittsburg State had guys taken before Sam. About the only logical conclusion to be made after reviewing all of this evidence is that Sam was, without a doubt, discriminated against because of his homosexuality. You know it, I know it, anybody with a brain knows it. But nobody will admit it. Sam didn’t grade well at the combine, some say. Others say he is a tweener, not big enough for a down lineman, too big for a linebacker, yada, yada, yada. The simple truth of the matter is that the majority of the super-masculine NFL teams don’t want a gay man parading around in their locker rooms in his birthday suit. The world has made progress when it comes to tolerance and acceptance. But not enough. People are still discriminated against for the color of their skin and their sexual orientation. The NFL doesn’t have to allow gay men like Sam into their private locker rooms.That one did is a first step. Networks don’t have to televise gay athletes like Sam kissing their boyfriends. That one did is another step. Enough of those steps and we’ll have a real walk to true tolerance and respect for all. Thanks for reading. Lee Stubbs is owner/publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 858-5154. Follow him on Twitter @leejstubbs.