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Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out

Ray

The words "It Gets Better" mean so much to Dalton Ray that he got them tattooed on his arm. 

Ray is a former high school football star who's now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

In a post for OutSports, Ray recounts how he struggled with his sexual orientation — both on and off the field — before finally coming out during his junior year of high school:  

Middle school was a challenge, but high school was the true battle for me. Subtle feelings turned into everyday thoughts. It increasingly became clear this wasn't just a phase for me.

To make it even worse I started hearing my peers, including some of my closest friends, use terms like "gay", "faggot", and "queer" to describe when something was stupid or wrong. Eventually that's how I felt - I felt like something was wrong with me, and worst of all I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror because I was so ashamed of who I was. ... 

One saying that has guided me through all of this: "It Gets Better." It's hard to realize that when you're stuck in the middle of the country hearing gay slurs every day. As I opened up my true self to people, I learned the power and truth of those three words. It's meant so much that I tattooed it on my arm.

In an "It Gets Better" video accompanying his OutSports piece, Ray — who also competed in basketball and track — says he didn't think it was possible to be an openly gay athlete until he became one:

Ray"I had this huge misconception that you couldn't be in sports and also be gay. That's wrong. That's completely, utterly wrong. I think once I actually came out I became a better athlete. I became a better competitor. I also became a better friend, a better brother, a better son, because I was finally being honest with not just everyone around me, but being honest with myself, and that's an extremely important part of life."  

Ray also has a powerful message for LGBT youth who are contemplating suicide:

"A bad day doesn't mean you have a bad life. If you don't think people wouldn't miss you, you're completely wrong, because you have friends and family and people in your lives that would miss you so much, so don't make them know what it feels like to live without you, because you're special, you're unique, you're an awesome person, and it gets better."

Read Ray's full article here and watch his "It Gets Better" video, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out" »


One Year After Coming Out, Michael Sam Is 'Not On A Team Because He's Gay'

Sam

It was one year ago today that NFL prospect Michael Sam came out as gay

The St. Louis Rams later drafted Sam in the seventh round, and he appeared in four preseason games before being cut. The Dallas Cowboys then added him to their practice squad before also cutting him

Since then, Sam hasn't gotten any calls from other teams, but he has applied for one of 100 spots at the NFL's first veteran combine next month. 

CBS Sports reports: 

About a month ago, the NFL announced that it would hold the first-ever veteran combine in Arizona on March 22, to correspond with the location and timing of the NFL owners meetings, which will be held in Arizona from March 22-24 this year.

NFL director of football development Matt Birk sent out a memo in January in which he called the current free agent process inefficient and said, "There's a void there. There was nothing for that guy out there who has one or two or three years in the league and is not with a team and is at the mercy of when the phone rings or when his agent gets him a workout. This will be a forum for these guys to showcase their talents and a service for our clubs instead of [what had been] an inefficient process."

One of the players who hopes to be extended one of about 100 invitations is apparently former St. Louis Rams and Dallas Cowboys defensive end Michael Sam, who fits the description of the kind of player referenced in the league memo.

USA Today reports that if Sam isn't invited to the veteran combine, he has a one-year contract offer from the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes.

Sam, 25, isn't doing media interviews, his publicist, Chris Licata, said in an email. He most recently was seen publicly as part of a Coca-Cola ad during Super Bowl XLIX. He has not received another NFL contract offer, even though rosters expand to 90 in the offseason.

But Sam is expected to be back in the football spotlight soon. The former University of Missouri standout has applied for one of about 100 spots in the NFL's first-ever veteran combine. The hope is that leads to an NFL contract offer and a chance to go to training camp. If not, a one-year contract offer from the Canadian Football League's Montreal Alouettes is waiting for him.

Tear up the CFL for a year, and Sam could find a greater market south of the border, though not everyone believes the primary reason for his unemployment is that he hasn't shown he can play. 

In a long post at OutSports marking the one-year anniversary of Sam's coming out, Cyd Zeigler explains why he believes Sam has been shut out of the NFL. 

For example, Sam is the only prospect in the last 20 years who didn't make an active NFL roster after being named Defense Player of The Year in a major college conference and being drafted. And he is one of two defensive ends, out of 20, who recorded similar stats in the preseason but did not make a season-long practice squad or active roster.   

Ziegler told USA Today

Zeigler"A year ago, history was being made, and that history got put on hold," said Cyd Zeigler, an advocate and co-founder of Outsports.com who has chronicled Sam's story from the start.

"No one I talk to seems willing to tell me why. But I get the sense from everyone that they have a really good idea of why. And it's not his performance in college, and it's not his performance in the preseason. Nobody will say what the pink elephant in the room is." ... 

"But they're thinking the same thing," Zeigler said. "Michael Sam is not on a team because he's gay. If Michael Sam had never come out of the closet, he would be on an NFL roster today. Period." 


Michael Sam Reportedly Engaged to Boyfriend Vito Cammisano

Sam
(instagram)

Unconfirmed reports are coming in that Michael Sam is now engaged to longtime boyfriend Vito Cammisano.

TMZ writes that it's "unclear who asked who ... but one of Vito's friends (who was on the University of Missouri swim team with Vito) is already congratulating the couple about it on Twitter ... and Sam "liked" her post."

Page Six reports the couple got engaged in Rome during their European vacation through Italy and Spain. Sam turned 25 on Wednesday. 

Congrats to the happy couple if reports are true!

Watch a clip of Sam discussing his thoughts on marriage for last month's Oprah Winfrey Network documentary (and more shots from the European vacation), AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Michael Sam Reportedly Engaged to Boyfriend Vito Cammisano" »


Outsports names Tony Dungy 'A--hole Of The Year': VIDEO

Dungy.Sam

It takes a pretty big a--hole to beat out Russian President Vladimir Putin, but that's precisely what NFL-coach-turned-NBC-analyst Tony Dungy has done. 

In a year when Michael Sam was by far the No. 1 gay sports story, it's no surprise that the LGBT site Outsports has chosen as its "A--hole of the Year" one of Sam's biggest detractors. 

Outsports named Dungy (above left) "A--hole Of The Year" for his statement in July that he would not have drafted Sam, the NFL's first openly gay player — and for a subsequent attempt to cover up his homophobia by saying the statement was based on the fact that Sam's presence would be a distraction, not his sexual orientation. 

The deeply religious Dungy's attempted cover-up was pretty obvious given his record — which includes support for an anti-gay hate group in Indiana in 2007 and a tweet last year saying he didn't agree with openly gay NBA player Jason Collins' "lifestyle."

And Dungy's argument that Sam's presence would be a distraction seems awfully hypocritical — and that much more homophobic — in light of his previous support for other NFL players including dog-killer Michael Vick and wife-beater Ray Rice. 

All of which has continued to fuel speculation that Dungy's son, who committed suicide in 2005, was gay, according to Outsports' Cyd Ziegler: 

It's shameful that NBC continues to give this man a platform from which he can push LGBT athletes and youth deeper into the closet. ... 

People like Dungy are the worst part of sports: heralded for their "fatherly" position to some players and given a pass for creating a dynamic in sports where gay athletes are driven by fear. He needlessly gives Christians in sport a very bad name, and his designation of "father figure" in the NFL gives validity to the anti-gay beliefs of others.

Watch a video in which Ziegler plays Dungy's alter ego, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Outsports names Tony Dungy 'A--hole Of The Year': VIDEO" »


Newspaper Makes Then Deletes Dick Joke About Greenbay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers

AaronRodgers

Pioneer Press has deleted a tweet it sent out linking to an article on Greenbay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodger's good luck charm -- the red beard of a fan he encountered and now tugs on at every home game. The tweet sent out by Pioneer Press, however, was somewhat more vague about what exactly Rodgers' lucky charm might be. As Deadspin reports, the tweet read, "It's red and 9 inches long, and #Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tugs it for good luck."

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Apparently, the joke was too much for some to handle. In Pioneer Press' piece on the beard in question, owned by a communications technician named Jeremy Wilcox, Wilcox describes his and Rodgers' pre-game ritual as "just guys having fun."

You'll recall that last year Rodgers chose to address rumors that he is gay. Speaking with 540 ESPN Milwaukee, Rogers commented, “I’m just going to say I’m not gay. I really, really like women. That’s all I can really say about that.”


Media Mogul David Geffen Claims 20-Year-Old College Football Player Ex-Boyfriend Is Stalking Him

Geffen

Media mogul David Geffen is having issues with 20-year-old ex-boyfriend Jamie Kuntz again after Kuntz was arrested in October for violating the terms of a restraining order reports Defamer via TMZKuntz stands accused of "Following, harassing and making a 'credible threat' against the Hollywood big wig sometime between September and November." Kuntz is now facing a felony stalking charge and a minor misdemeanor charge for allegedly disobeying a court order to stay away from Geffen. Kuntz' lawyers say the whole thing is a big misunderstanding and no stalking was involved.

Kuntz is a former North Dakota State College of Science student who was dismissed from the school's football team in 2012 after he and Geffen were spotted kissing in the press box of a game. The school claims he was removed from the team for lying about the kiss, and not because he's gay. Kuntz originally told team officials that Geffen was his grandfather.

 


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