Michael Sam and Vito Cammissano

Grown men recoiled at the sight of St. Louis draftee Michael Sam licking cake icing off the lips of his boyfriend, Vito Cammissano. Only seconds before “the kiss”, these same men cheered St. Louis for having the courage to draft Sam with its 249th pick in the NFL draft on Saturday. 31 other teams had bypassed the SEC Defensive Player of the Year who was projected as a mid- to late round draft pick.

ESPN taped Sam’s reaction and aired the tape immediately after his draft pick was announced. Social media’s reaction to “the kiss” was wildly mixed. Some applauded the NFL, St. Louis and Sam for their courage. While others — including professional and college football players — expressed their distaste with ESPN for repeatedly showing “the kiss” on air. Many believed ESPN went too far.

Michael Sam and Vito Cammissano

Michael Sam and Vito Cammissano

Former NFL running back Derrick Ward tweeted: “Man u got little kids looking at the draft. I can’t believe ESPN even allowed that to happen.”

When Sam’s supporters rushed to silence him, Ward stood his ground. Nothing Ward said was homophobic or offensive. He simply gave an unpopular opinion that would’ve been grounds for discipline or suspension had he been an active NFL player.

Michael Sam and Vito Cammissano

Take for example Dolphins second-year player Don Jones who also tweeted his dissatisfaction for what Gawker.com called “joyfully kissing his boyfriend.”

Jones tweeted “OMG” and “horrible.” He later deleted his tweets after the Dolphins front office admonished him for having an unpopular opinion.

The Dolphins fined Jones and sent him to “educational training” for his “negative” tweets.

“I was made aware of it and I was disappointed in those comments,” said Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey. “That’s not what we stand for as an organization. The draft weekend is a culmination for so many players, their lifetime achievement of their dream to achieve a goal for Michael Sam and all the other players.

“It’s a celebration. … I think it’s a great thing for the league, Hickey added.”

But many ESPN viewers were turned off by what they saw as ESPN forcing its liberal ideas on their viewers.

One viewer wrote:

It really grossed me out to see Michael Sam kiss his boyfriend. I am actually glad he (finally) got drafted. But ESPN is, as they have done for as long as I can recall, forcing their own ideas on their viewers (and showing zero respect for their viewers feelings or beliefs). Here’s the problem, there is this subtext that goes, “you guys who don’t see things like we (the glorious “good & enlightened” people) do, are subhuman, so we have to force you to accept something, even if you find it distasteful and inappropriate. Well, ESPN, I’m turning you off. I can live without professional sports and without your insults. The whole thing is too hyped anyway. And too commercial… Goodbye and good riddance.