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Friday, March 6, 2015  |   Madison, WI: 28.0° F  
CITIZEN DAVE: Thoughts and ideas about city building from Madison's former mayor
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Citizen Dave: Proud to be a Packers fan

Okay, so the Green Bay Packers, of which I am a part-owner, didn't have such a great season. When half your team is on crutches and in casts, that'll happen.

But I'm still proud to be a Packers fan, and am more than ever today. Over the weekend, University of Missouri defensive standout Michael Sam said he was gay. In most walks of life that isn't big news anymore, but in professional football it's a huge deal. Sam will be the first openly gay man drafted into the NFL.

This has sent some franchises heading for cover with team officials, saying that they might not draft Sam because they "don't need the distraction."

But not Mike McCarthy and the other coaches of the Green Bay Packers. Here's what McCarthy said: "I think you definitely have to feel that he's a courageous young man, but my understanding is he's a talented young player... Any player who can come here and be a good teammate and follow the rules of our program, which is, one, be respectful and produce on the football field, we have room for that guy."

Assistant coach Alex Van Pelt echoed the boss: "As long as you're a good person and you're respectful in the locker room to each other, then you can help us win on Sundays and are welcome."

McCarthy and his coaches said the absolute right and perfect thing. They didn't hedge or parse -- they made an impressive moral statement.

It's reminiscent of Vince Lombardi standing up for his African American players when they first entered the league. Lombardi once pulled his entire team out of a hotel in New Orleans because it wouldn't allow his few black players to stay there.

I was proud of the Packers for never giving up during a trying season on the field. I'm more proud of them this morning.

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