The kiss that caused all the fuss: Michael Sam & Vito Cammisano

A joyous kiss between gay footballer Michael Sam and his boyfriend shown on national television has enraged homophobes across the US but will undoubtedly have a massive cultural and social impact in years to come.

On Saturday, an emotional Sam kissed boyfriend Vito Cammisano after hearing the news that he’d become the first openly gay player to be drafted by a National Football League (NFL) team.

The kiss was broadcast on the NFL Network and on ESPN. It was similar to many scenes of happy footballers kissing their girlfriends after being drafted, broadcast by the channels in the past. The spontaneous, happy moment, however, shocked and disgusted a number of athletes and commentators.

Miami Dolphins player Don Jones tweeted “OMG” and “Horrible” in response to the kiss. He was forced to apologise and was quickly suspended and fined by his team for his comments.

“I want to apologise to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments that I made last night on social media. I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment,” said Jones.

Retired NFL player Derrick Ward, also took to Twitter, commenting: “I’m sorry but that Michael Sam is no bueno for doing that on national tv. I’m fine with it being a new day in age but for him to do that on National tv is disgusting. Gay or not.”

Basketball player Marshall Henderson also tweeted offensively about the smooch: “Boycotting sportscenter til this michael sam nasty ass shit is off… My brothers are 7 and 11 and saw that!!! #SICKENING.”

Speaking on the Fox network, Donald Trump said he supported Sam’s draft into the NFL but also described the kiss as “pretty out there to me.” He slammed the censure of Jones by his team, arguing that, “We’ve become so politically correct in this country that the country is going to hell.”

ESPN producer Seth Markman, told AP that he was surprised by the negative reactions to the two men’s expression of joy.

“We’re a young production crew and quite honestly it was just another moment in the years we’ve done this.” He explained: “In the truck, we were only saying, ‘Wow, this is great emotion here.’ No one stepped up and said, ‘Oh, wow, do we really want to be showing this?'”

Writing for The Guardian, Cyd Zeigler said that, “America will never be the same again.”

He wrote that, “The cultural impact of Saturday’s draft selection – and the kiss watched ’round the world – reaches into every corner of American society. No child will ever again grow up thinking that being gay in the National Football League is ‘impossible.'”

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