Dallas sports anchor’s defense of Michael Sam goes viral

Don’t tell Dallas sports anchor Dale Hansen the NFL isn’t ready for someone like Michael Sam.

Earlier this week, Hansen ripped some of Sam’s critics who said the Missouri All-American had hurt his draft stock by announcing he’s gay. Hansen also wondered why other NFL players, some accused or convicted of criminal behavior, were accepted by the NFL with open arms:

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.

The ‘Unplugged’ segment aired Monday night and has already attracted more than 3.5 million views on YouTube. Thursday, Hansen told the Dallas Morning News he’d received more than 1,000 e-mails from around the world about his commentary:

They see a big, fat old guy from Dallas, Texas, and they thought they knew what the redneck was going to say. I guess they were wrong.

Hansen compared Sam’s detractors to those who felt black players couldn’t play in the NFL or later, play the quarterback position. He then quoted civil rights activist Audre Lorde:

It is not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.

Hansen said it was time for America to “celebrate Michael Sam now.”

On Friday, the veteran broadcaster will appear on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Watch Hansen’s full ‘Unplugged’ segment below:

[youtubevid video=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Olc5C4SXAYM” id=”Olc5C4SXAYM” w=”640″ h=”360″]

*UPDATE* (9 a.m. ET)

In an e-mail to theGrio.com, Hansen said he hopes the NFL and its players take the lead in accepting and celebrating Michael Sam. Hansen wrote that until that happens, “others,” such as fans, media members and activists, will have to take on that role.

Hansen writes that he’s been “buried in an avalanche of e-mails,” since his segment went viral:

In all seriousness, because an old white guy in Texas said it I think – at least I’m told by hundreds – that caused [everyone] to stop down and listen…and share.

Several versions of Hanen’s segment have been uploaded to YouTube. One version has nearly 4.5 million views as of Monday morning.

Follow theGrio.com’s Todd Johnson on Twitter @rantoddj