The NFL this weekend had a new message for players who criticize openly gay draft pick Michael Sam: pay up. Dolphins player Don Jones was fined and ordered to undergo sensitivity training following negative tweets he sent after Sam's draft pick was announced.
Shortly after Sam was drafted, Jones went to Twitter and tweeted "OMG" and later "Horrible." Those tweets have since been deleted. On Sunday, the Dolphins announced that Jones would have to undergo sensitivity reeducation before he will be allowed to return the team. He was also fined.
Don Jones has been fined an undisclosed amount and excused from all team activities until such time that he undergoes and completes educational training for his recent comments made on social media during the NFL Draft.
Dolphins coach Joe Philbin said the team was "disappointed" in Jones, and the tweets were "inappropriate and unacceptable." And that is really the key word here: unacceptable. Jones' reaction on Twitter is deemed punishable only because Sam is gay. Had Jones had the same negative reaction to any other draft pick, or even to a reaction to a draft pick, it would not matter. But because Sam is in a protected class and, more importantly, is a darling of the media and the squeaky-wheel left, any criticism will be met with swift punishment. That's the message they intend to send, and it is the message that is being received. It paints a bleak picture for those in the sports writing world who may have designs on criticizing Sam in the future.
This is the age of PC punishment. Get on board, or get booted. Those are the options. As coach Philbin said of Jones:
We met with Don today about respect, discrimination and judgment. These comments are not consistent with the values and standards of our program. We will continue to emphasize and educate our players that these statements will not be tolerated."
Prepare to be educated, America.