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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." 


Former NFL Star Hines Ward on Gay Athletes: 'If You Can Help Me Win A Super Bowl, I'm All Up For It' - VIDEO

Hines Ward

Appearing as a guest on Meredith Vieira's talk show, former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward fielded a question on professional sports dealing with Michael Sam and gay athletes in general.

Said Ward in part:

"If you can help me win a Super Bowl, then I'm all up for it, 'cause that's what it all matters to me."

Speaking about locker room shenanigans, Ward pointed out he's recieved his fair share of teasing as a biracial person:

"I get teased all the time, you've got to have thick skin...It's just their ignorance about not knowing what a biracial person is all about, or what a gay person is all about."

You can watch the clip between Ward and Vieira AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Former NFL Star Hines Ward on Gay Athletes: 'If You Can Help Me Win A Super Bowl, I'm All Up For It' - VIDEO" »


Despite NFL Snub, Michael Sam's Jersey Outsold First Round Draft Pick's In 2014

Screenshot 2015-01-05 17.22.02

According to an inventory analysis from Dick’s Sporting Goods, one of the largest sports gear retailers in the US, Michael Sam’s jersey outsold NFL first pick Jadaveon Clowney’s despite Sam being cut from the St. Louis Rams, released from the Dallas Cowboys, and never actually setting foot on the football field. Similarly, Clowney saw very little time on the field after sustaining an injury during the 2014 season.

JerseySam’s jersey spiked in popularity last July after the Rams picked him up during training camp, according to the analysis. Because Sam only made it to the Cowboys’s practice squad, the franchise never licensed his jersey for mass production.

Sam recently sat down with Oprah to talk about the outpouring of support he saw from closeted gay players in the NFL after he was cut from the Cowboys. Despite Sam's widely recognized promise as a defensive end and popularity with many football fans, the Texas-born footballer has been frank about his decision to come out ultimately being the reason behind his NFL snub.


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" »


Michael Sam on Whether His 'Cake Kiss' Was Staged and If He Thinks Homophobia Is Why He's Not In the NFL: VIDEO

Cakekiss

Sitting down with Oprah for an interview that aired on OWN last night, Michael Sam was asked about the infamous "cake kiss" he shared with boyfriend Vito Cammisano that aired on ESPN after Sam was drafted to the St. Louis Rams late in the seventh round of the NFL draft. 

Oprah asked Sam whether the kiss was staged for the cameras, as well as whether he thought the kiss itself was "too much" for America and the NFL to handle

In a separate clip, Oprah asked Sam if he thinks he isn't in the NFL now because he "wasn't good enough to play" or because he's gay.

Find out, AFTER THE JUMP...

Sam1

Did you watch the interview and documentary? What did you think?

Continue reading "Michael Sam on Whether His 'Cake Kiss' Was Staged and If He Thinks Homophobia Is Why He's Not In the NFL: VIDEO" »


Michael Sam Opens Up About the Other Gay NFL Players Who Reached Out to Him: VIDEO

Sam

In a promo for Oprah's interview with Michael Sam that airs tonight, Sam talks about the gay men in the NFL who reached out to him to commend Sam for his courage being openly gay.

Sam wouldn't specify the exact number, saying only that a "very few" contacted him, before adding: "there's a lot of us out there."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

And be sure to catch Oprah's full interview with Sam tonight at 10:30 pm PT on OWN following the premiere of the Michael Sam documentary at 9 PT. 

Continue reading "Michael Sam Opens Up About the Other Gay NFL Players Who Reached Out to Him: VIDEO" »


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