- - Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sunday afternoons in the fall and winter used to be a time for the manly pursuit of victory on the gridiron. Not anymore. Don Jones, the Miami Dolphins safety, was fined and suspended, but not for missing practice or performing badly on the field. He fumbled in the game of political correctness.

Mr. Jones was ordered to attend sensitivity training — the modern-day equivalent of a re-education camp — for tweeting “OMG” and “Horrible” in response to ESPN’s telecasting of NFL draftee Michael Sam, the first openly homosexual football player to be drafted, locking lips with his “boyfriend” upon being selected Saturday by the St. Louis Rams.

Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he was “disappointed” by Mr. Jones. “We met with Don … about respect, discrimination and judgment,” Mr. Philbin tut-tutted. “These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program.”

Those values apparently don’t include tolerance of views that are not fashionable at politically correct Manhattan dinner parties, but are widely held in the rest of the country. Mr. Jones was compelled to issue an apology not only to Mr. Sam, but also to “my teammates, coaches, staff and fans” — even though it’s not clear whether any of them were actually offended.

Even before he’s made so much as a single tackle or interception on the professional field, Mr. Sam is being celebrated and handed trophies for his athletic achievement. ESPN has nominated Mr. Sam for an ESPY Award in July. In the pantheon of the politically correct sports media, Jason Collins is so last week.

It has since come out that Mr. Sam’s kiss was staged. Cameras were ready to roll as the phone call came in to make the dramatic announcement. The Washington Post quoted an ESPN producer saying the network’s coverage of Mr. Sam’s draft had been discussed “in production meetings for months.”

Also on hand for Mr. Sam’s drafting was Oprah Winfrey’s low-rated OWN cable-TV network, which had been readying what she euphemistically calls a “multipart documentary” on Mr. Sam for weeks prior to the announcement. Perhaps fittingly, it’s being produced by the same crew that gave the world a reality show about Lindsay Lohan.

Moreover, it’s not clear how having one’s own reality-TV show — which TMZ reports the Rams were unaware of when they selected him — comports with Mr. Sam’s insistence that he be treated as “Michael Sam, the football player,” not “Michael Sam, the gay football player” and “Judge me for what I do on the field.” It was not for his athletic prowess that he received a congratulatory phone call from President Obama.

In any case, Mr. Sam is clearly making the most of his time in the spotlight. That’s not bad for someone who was drafted 249th out of 256 players and selected in the final round of the draft, but we look forward to getting back to watching football games as a sport, not as political statements.