Quantcast

Michael Sam goes to the Rams, becomes 1st openly gay player draf - abc27 WHTM

Michael Sam goes to the Rams, becomes 1st openly gay player drafted by NFL team

Posted: Updated:
Michael Sam has been picked by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the NFL draft, becoming the first openly gay player drafted by a pro football team.(AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File) Michael Sam has been picked by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the NFL draft, becoming the first openly gay player drafted by a pro football team.(AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
NEW YORK (AP) — Michael Sam waited and waited. Hours passed, rounds came and went, and eventually, there were only eight more picks left on the third and final day of the NFL draft.

[VIDEO:  Watch Michael Sam's reaction to being drafted by the Rams above or click here]
 
For just a moment, it looked like his chance of being picked by a pro team and becoming the league's first openly gay player might take a detour. Or at least be delayed.

The call finally came Saturday from the St. Louis Rams, the team right down the road from where Sam played his college ball at the University of Missouri.

"Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every once of this to achieve greatness!!" Sam tweeted with a frenzied typo moments after he was picked in the seventh round, with a picture of himself wearing a Rams cap and a pink polo shirt.

Sam came out as gay in media interviews earlier this year. His team and coaches knew his secret and kept it for his final college season. He went on to have the best year of his career: He was the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year.

The pick came after several rounds of suspense. The first round of the day, No. 4 overall, came and went, no Sam. Then the fifth and sixth, and finally, the day was down to just a handful of picks.

When Mike Kensil, the NFL's vice president of game operations, walked to the podium at Radio City Music Hall in the draft's final minutes to announce the Rams' second-to-last pick, the crowd got a sense something was up. Very few of the last day picks were announced at the podium. Twitter lit up with suggestions the Rams were about to make news.

When Kensil said: "The St. Louis Rams select ... Michael Sam..." the fans gave a hearty cheer, chanting "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and "Michael Sam!"

Sam was in San Diego watching with friends and family at the home of his agent, Joe Barkett of Empire Athletes. ESPN and the NFL Network had cameras there and showed Sam's reaction.

Sam was on the phone bending over, with his boyfriend hugging him and rubbing his left bicep. When Sam got off the phone, the tears started. He gave his boyfriend a big kiss and a long hug as he cried and his eyes reddened. After, they shared cake — and another kiss.

Sam will start his professional career not far from the place where he played his college ball, with three former Missouri teammates.

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Sam was considered a mid-to-late round pick, far from a sure thing to be drafted. He played defensive end in college, but he's short for that position in the NFL and slower than most outside linebackers, the position he'll need to transition to at the professional level.

"I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I'm going to sack their quarterback," Sam said.

He was taken with the 249th overall pick out of 256. Players from Marist, Maine and McGill University in Canada were slected before Sam.

"In the world of diversity we live in now, I'm honored to be a part of this," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said during an interview on ESPN.

The NFL had no comment on Sam being drafted.

The impact of Sam's selection goes far beyond football. At a time when gay marriage is gaining acceptance among Americans, Sam's entry into the NFL is a huge step toward the integration of gay men into professional team sports. Pro sports have in many ways lagged behind the rest of society in acceptance.

"Michael Sam wouldn't have been drafted five years ago," said former Viking punter Chris Kluwe, who has accused Minnesota of cutting him in part because of his vocal support for gay rights.

In the last year, NBA veteran Jason Collins has come out publicly as gay, and is now playing for the Brooklyn Nets. Collins said before the Nets' playoff game against the Heat that he was watching the draft and texted Sam after he was picked.

"It's a great day for Michael and his family and for the NFL," Collins said.

Publicly, most people in and related to the NFL have been supportive of Sam. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said Sam would be welcome in the league and judged solely on his ability to play. A few wondered whether teams would be reluctant to draft Sam because of all the media attention that would come with it.

Fair or not, the NFL — coming off a season in which a bullying scandal involving players on the Miami Dolphins was one of the biggest stories in sports — was looking at a possible public relations hit if Sam was not drafted. He would likely have been signed as a free agent and given a chance to make a team in training camp, but to many it would have looked as if he was being rejected.

Now that he's there, it could be seen as an opportunity for the NFL to show that crass locker room culture is not as prevalent as it might have looked to those who followed the embarrassing Dolphins scandal.
___

Follow AP College Football Writer Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

  • All other Local CollegesMore>>

  • Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Alabama State, Southern favorites in SWAC

    Friday, July 18 2014 5:11 PM EDT2014-07-18 21:11:55 GMT
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.More >>
    Defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion Southern and Alabama State are the favorites to win their divisions.
    More >>
  • JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    JSU football picked by media to win OVC championship

    Friday, July 18 2014 4:08 PM EDT2014-07-18 20:08:13 GMT
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.More >>
    Jacksonville State is picked to win the Ohio Valley Conference championship by media covering the league.
    More >>
  • JSU running back Troymaine Pope wounded by gunfire outside AJ's Sunset Grill in Anniston

    JSU running back Troymaine Pope wounded by gunfire outside AJ's Sunset Grill in Anniston

    Tuesday, July 8 2014 8:57 PM EDT2014-07-09 00:57:24 GMT
    ANNISTON, Alabama -- Anniston police are investigating a shooting outside a local bar that wounded Jacksonville State running back Troymaine Pope. Pope, 20, suffered a gunshot wound to his right bicep while trying to run for safety after gunfire erupted in the parking lot of AJ's Sunset Grill around 5:20 a.m. Sunday. The injury was non-life threatening, police said. Pope, an Anniston High School product, is preparing for his sophomore season with the Gamecocks. He played in seven games in 201...More >>
    ANNISTON, Alabama -- Anniston police are investigating a shooting outside a local bar that wounded Jacksonville State running back Troymaine Pope. Pope, 20, suffered a gunshot wound to his right bicep while trying to run for safety after gunfire erupted in the parking lot of AJ's Sunset Grill around 5:20 a.m. Sunday. The injury was non-life threatening, police said. Pope, an Anniston High School product, is preparing for his sophomore season with the Gamecocks. He played in seven games in 201...More >>
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • CEO: Clippers coach to quit if Sterling stays

    CEO: Clippers coach to quit if Sterling stays

    Wednesday, July 23 2014 12:03 AM EDT2014-07-23 04:03:50 GMT
    Richard Parsons, the interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers, is due to step into the battle of billionaires going on in probate court over the proposed sale of the Los Angeles Clippers.More >>
    The interim CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers testified Tuesday that coach Doc Rivers told him he will quit if Donald Sterling remains the owner of the team.More >>
  • Board members extend contract for Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools

    Board members extend contract for Superintendent of Birmingham City Schools

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 10:38 PM EDT2014-07-23 02:38:45 GMT
    Parents all over are getting their child's 'back to school' list together. Classes in Birmingham start August 14, 2014. The school board is also getting ready. Board members checked off a big item during the last board meeting.More >>
    Parents all over are getting their child's 'back to school' list together. Classes in Birmingham start August 14, 2014. The school board is also getting ready. Board members checked off a big item during the last board meeting.More >>
  • Kayak BBQ and Blues Festival at the gulf

    Kayak BBQ and Blues Festival at the gulf

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-07-23 01:05:11 GMT
    The 2nd Annual Kayak BBQ and Blues Festival is coming on September 6th at Perdido Key. The event will be held at Stacey's at the Point, just off Galvez Landing. Last year's event attracted over 3,500 visitors in its first year, more are expected this year.The festival will feature kayak and stand up paddleboard races, arts and crafts vendors, live music, a huge fireworks show and a BBQ cook off competition with cash prizes. This year's kayak and paddleboard races have been expanded with separ...More >>
    The 2nd Annual Kayak BBQ and Blues Festival is coming on September 6th at Perdido Key. The event will be held at Stacey's at the Point, just off Galvez Landing. Last year's event attracted over 3,500 visitors in its first year, more are expected this year.The festival will feature kayak and stand up paddleboard races, arts and crafts vendors, live music, a huge fireworks show and a BBQ cook off competition with cash prizes. This year's kayak and paddleboard races have been expanded with separ...More >>
  • Starting process of replacing I-20/59 bridge

    Starting process of replacing I-20/59 bridge

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 8:17 PM EDT2014-07-23 00:17:49 GMT
    It's more than 42 years old and not getting in any better shape. The long and arduous process of replacing the I-20/59 bridge near the Birmingham/Jefferson Civic Center area is in the beginning stages. Starting Wednesday, July 23, at 9 a.m., the Alabama Department of Transportation will conduct geotechnical investigations for replacement of the bridge that's in disrepair. More than 160,000 vehicle travel the corridor each day. However, the bridge was only designed to carry 80,000 vehicles a d...More >>
    It's more than 42 years old and not getting in any better shape. The long and arduous process of replacing the I-20/59 bridge near the Birmingham/Jefferson Civic Center area is in the beginning stages. Starting Wednesday, July 23, at 9 a.m., the Alabama Department of Transportation will conduct geotechnical investigations for replacement of the bridge that's in disrepair. More than 160,000 vehicle travel the corridor each day. However, the bridge was only designed to carry 80,000 vehicles a d...More >>
  • Suspect in Jacksonville shooting from June turns self in

    Suspect in Jacksonville shooting from June turns self in

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:06 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:06:38 GMT
    Jacksonville police said the suspect in the June shooting of a Calhoun County man turned himself into police Tuesday afternoon.More >>
    Jacksonville police said the suspect in the June shooting of a Calhoun County man turned himself into police Tuesday afternoon.
    More >>
  • Jacksonville man arrested for child pornography

    Jacksonville man arrested for child pornography

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 7:05 PM EDT2014-07-22 23:05:18 GMT
    William Franklin Harper (Photo: Calhoun County Sheriff's Office)William Franklin Harper (Photo: Calhoun County Sheriff's Office)
    The Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s CyberCrimes Unit arrested a Jacksonville man Tuesday for possession of child pornography.ABI officers served a search warrant at the home of 49-year-old William Franklin Harper. Harper is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography.He is currently in custody at theCalhoun County Jailwith bond setat $100,000 bond.During the search, investigators found methamphetamine. Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board and the Calhoun Coun...More >>
    The Alabama Bureau of Investigation’s CyberCrimes Unit arrested a Jacksonville man Tuesday for possession of child pornography.ABI officers served a search warrant at the home of 49-year-old William Franklin Harper. Harper is charged with four counts of possession of child pornography.He is currently in custody at theCalhoun County Jailwith bond setat $100,000 bond.During the search, investigators found methamphetamine. Agents of the Alabama Alcohol Beverage Control Board and the Calhoun Coun...More >>
  • California law limits full-contact football practice for youth, local coach weighs in

    California law limits full-contact football practice for youth, local coach weighs in

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:33 PM EDT2014-07-22 22:33:21 GMT
    Football, and the injuries associated with it, are in the national spotlight. With recent suits from former NFL players and new rules determining when it is safe to return to play after a concussion, it's at the center of attention.More >>
    Football, and the injuries associated with it, are in the national spotlight. With recent suits from former NFL players and new rules determining when it is safe to return to play after a concussion, it's at the center of attention.
    More >>
  • UAB gets commitment from JUCO receiver/returner

    UAB gets commitment from JUCO receiver/returner

    Tuesday, July 22 2014 6:17 PM EDT2014-07-22 22:17:31 GMT
    Alex Byers is set to return to his southeast roots. The junior college wide receiver and return man committed to UAB. He's the ninth member of the Blazers 2015 recruiting class.More >>
    Alex Byers is set to return to his southeast roots. The junior college wide receiver and return man committed to UAB. He's the ninth member of the Blazers 2015 recruiting class.More >>
Powered by WorldNow