Sports broadcasts are typically known for their punchy lists of best plays, epic goal countdowns and testosterone-fueled commentary.
Which makes Dale Hansen's address Monday night all the more remarkable. The Dallas sports anchor for ABC local affiliate WFAA took a break from the standard script to address the issue of Michael Sam, a defensive lineman poised to become the first openly gay player in the NFL.
The approximately two-minute segment, titled "Hansen Unplugged: Celebrating Our Differences," opens with a joke about Sam's "shocking" circumstance -- that he's the "best defensive player in football's best conference," yet only a third to fifth-round NFL pick ("Really?!?") -- before adopting a more serious tone and addressing Sam's critics and haters alike.
In particular, Hansen focuses on athletes who are deeply destructive to the world and people around them, yet are still revered for their on-field performance:
You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that.
Hansen then drives home the hypocrisy: "You love another man? Well, now you've gone too far!"
"I'm not always comfortable when a man tells me he's gay; I don't understand his world," Hansen adds later. "But I do understand that he's part of mine."
UPDATE: 6:52 p.m. -- In an email to The Huffington Post, Hansen said he's surprised at the response his segment unleashed. "Some people don't seem to believe this -- I honestly didn't think it was going to be that big a deal," he said, adding he's received more than 700 "overwhelmingly positive" emails from around the U.S. and one from a young high school boy in Canada.
When asked for his thought process on taking such a firm stance and then broadcasting it, Hansen responded thus: "I write only what I believe -- and I simply believe what I wrote. Seems like common sense to me -- nothing more or less."
WATCH Hansen's poignant segment, above.
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