Fresh off their Super Bowl romp over the Denver Broncos, fullback Michael Robinson and defensive linemen Red Bryant and Brandon Mebane sat down for an in-depth conversation that touched on everything from shutting down Peyton Manning to the Twitter antics of Richie Incognito.
We also touched on Michael Sam's public announcement that he's gay. While the NFL Draft prospect has received widespread support, all three Seahawks acknowledged that Sam might face challenges inside an NFL locker room.
You can listen to the entire conversation here, beginning at the 23:25 mark, but here's a cut of the honest, layered responses the players provided:
Robinson: "I think it's going to be very, very tough. Not only that he's open and openly gay, but he's also a rookie. Rookies get it tough anyway. And then, on top of that, you know, a team has to deal with so many things, you know what I mean? (To his teammates) You know how guys talk in the locker room?"
Bryant: "I know how I talk!"
Mebane: "Exactly. Too, him being a rookie, outside his private life, hopefully he'll have an older guy in his group that can teach him how to be a professional and teach him what to do to prepare for a game and how to break down film and what to look for, things like that. So, you know, he has those things he gotta do and then he gonna have to deal with things that are off-the-field issues."
Robinson: "But my question to you is, is it even gonna be hard for him to even get that bond with the older guy? Just because perception -- in our line of business -- perception is reality. If a guy sees you hanging with a guy like that, I mean, I don't know. You just don't know. It's different. I feel like this is just a game-changer."
Bryant: "I feel like the way society is moving, you know, me, being from Texas, the Bible Belt, and my upbringing and things of that nature, to get to the point where you can actually respect other people's differences, other people's train of thought in terms of how they feel and how they go about their business, I just feel like, when you dive in their personal private life, that to me is like you're crossing the line. You know what I mean? For a football player, what I've been able to see from clips and things of that nature, he can play football, and I feel like, at the end of the day, that's all that matters. ... As an athlete, this is just my personal opinion, I feel like your validation comes from what you do on that football field. In terms of how you give back to your community or how you want to be looked at? To each his own."
Added Robinson later: "I don't think nobody really would be like, 'I don't like him' or 'I hate him' just out in the open. But it'd be hard to just automatically be like, 'Oh, hey, come on, just hang with us!' ... You know, you want to understand and know the person before you develop a relationship. Sometimes, it takes a lot to develop a relationship with guys on the team because a lot of guys in the locker room think different already, and so a lot of guys (are) just different. They just think different. That's OK, everybody has their own right to think the way they want to think, but I think, in this situation, a lot of guys are gonna be like, 'I don't know man, because I don't want to be caught on Instagram or Twitter being seen with them on the public end.' People be like, 'Oh, yeah, you must be like that, too.'"