Tags: Exclusive Interviews | Gay Marriage | Hillary Clinton | Steve Malzberg Show | Michael Sam | Joe Conason | ESPN

Salon's Conason: ESPN Should Have Warned of Gay Kiss

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Tuesday, 13 May 2014 08:17 PM

ESPN should have known better than to air Michael Sam's gay kiss without warning parents its coverage of the NFL draftee might not be suitable for children, says Joe Conason, a columnist for Salon and editor-in-chief of The National Memo.

"If they know their viewers are going to be watching with little kids and might get upset at having their children exposed to this before they're ready to deal with it, then . . . it would be good if they said, you know, we're going to show Michael Sam with his male partner and their reaction," Conason told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.

"If the viewers didn't want to watch that, they wouldn't have to," he said Tuesday. "Them or their kids, right?"

Sam, the first openly gay player picked in the NFL draft, was shown celebrating his new affiliation with the St. Louis Rams by hugging and kissing boyfriend Vito Cammisano, a former University of Missouri swimming star.

Conason said he personally approved of the images because they will help break down barriers as far as acceptance of gays is concerned.

"I happen to think it was good that they broadcast it, ultimately, for our country. We may disagree about that," he said.

"This is sensitive territory that we are moving through as a nation now. A lot of people feel on the right that we're moving too quickly. I would say from the point of view of gay and lesbian people, although I don't happen to be one, this is all taken much too long to move toward normalizing of their relationships in society.

"So, I agree . . . it's tough, and dwelling on the kiss, somewhat lasciviously as the media did, is a little strange. I have to say I found it inspiring that he was picked finally in the draft and he was allowed to express his feeling with this partner."

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Asked about the report that Republican strategist Karl Rove was heard suggesting that Hillary Clinton may have suffered brain damage from the blood clot she was hospitalized for in 2009 — a report Rove denies — Conason said:

"As you know, there are plenty of people in the conservative movement who think Karl has brain damage at this point, but I don't see how that serves any conservative's purpose to attack her that way.

"As Karl said in some other portion of the interview, same interview, ultimately, if Secretary Clinton does decide to run for president, she will be vetted. Her health will be vetted just like every other candidate or nominee's health is vetted."

So, what was Rove's alleged motive?

"I kind of don't see the point of it. It smells desperate to me," Conason said.

"I'll tell you, I've seen Hillary Clinton a few times since her illness, and she's fine."

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