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Michael Sam Responds to Tony Dungy's Remarks with Grace and Humility: VIDEO

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Michael Sam reacted on Tuesday to remarks made by Tony Dungy this week suggesting that he wouldn't have drafted Sam because the Sam's sexual orientation would have been a distraction. Dungy later clarified his remarks and said that Sam should "absolutely" have the opportunity to play in the NFL.

Sam was asked about the remarks by reporters and responded with grace and humility:

Said Sam: "Thank God he wasn't St. Louis Rams' coach. But I have a great respect for Coach Dungy, and like everyone in America, everyone is entitled to their own opinions."

Sam was also asked if he would be surprised "if that pops up from time to time, that somebody disapproves?"

"It is what it is," said Sam. "What you gonna do about it? My focus is on making this team. I'm excited to be back with the guys. Football is fun."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Michael Sam Responds to Tony Dungy's Remarks with Grace and Humility: VIDEO" »


Michael Sam Covers OUT Magazine: PHOTO

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Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, covers August's issue of OUT Magazine. The interview got off to something of a rocky start because Sam first mistook his interviewer for being straight. However, once Sam discovered he and interviewer Christopher Glazek were both part of the same brotherhood of man, everything changed:

Desperate to turn things around, I started talking about myself and mentioned visiting a boyfriend in upstate New York. Suddenly Sam’s head perked up; for the first time, he looked me in the eyes. “Wait—you’re gay?” I wasn’t sure how this could have been unclear. “Uh, yes,” I replied, wonder- ing how he was going to take the news. “Oh!” he blurted, his voice rising five octaves. “And Aaron [Hicklin, Out’s editor in chief ]? Is he gay, too?” I nodded. His face melted into a smile; he inched his chair closer to the table and loosened the furrow in his brow. “I thought you guys were straight! That’s why I was giving you a hard time.” His eyes, which had glared with impermeability all through the shoot, suddenly started to radiate warmth and comradeship. Sam’s metamorphosis was so sudden and cartoonish, it suggested how much energy he was having to expend to protect his sexual orientation from people he feared would use it against him.

From that point on Sam opened up about his relationship with boyfriend Vito Cammisano, whom Sam famously kissed upon hearing the news that he had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams. The pair met for the first time at a lingerie party during his freshman year: 

“We didn’t start off as huge fans of each other. I went up to him to ask if he was OK, and he started cursing at me, screaming, ‘Fuck off — do you know who I am?’ I told him I didn’t care who he was. We didn’t speak again for two years.”

The two later reconnected and today, Sam cites Cammisano as being the instigating force behind him taking the courageous step to come out to his team in college: 

By the time they were reintroduced by a mutual friend during Sam’s junior year, Cammisano had come out as gay. Sam, though, was still in the closet. One night, the trio went out together to a bar. “I could see he was interested,” Sam said. “I bought him a couple of drinks, got us tipsy. Toward the end of the night, I put my arm around him, and it was over.” The two started dating, but Sam was concerned about his teammates finding out. “Everyone knew Vito was gay, so we couldn’t even be seen together. There was a lot of climbing out of windows.” Eventually, the two split. As time went on, though, Sam grew more comfortable with being gay and the couple got back together before Sam’s senior year. This time they made no efforts to hide their relationship, and Sam decided it was time to formally come out to his team. “Vito was really the person who showed me I had to do it,” Sam said. “I wanted us to be comfortable...When I got up there in front of my team, it was actually the first time I said the words to anyone: ‘I am gay.’ Mizzou is a family. At another school, it might have been a different story.”

You can read OUT's full cover story on Sam HERE.   


Former College Football Player And NFL Prospect Brad Thorson: ‘I’m Gay’

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Brad Thorson, a former college football player who played as an offensive lineman for both Wisconsin and Kansas and was briefly with the Arizona Cardinals, came out as gay in a blog post published on July 4th:

I've been told many times that the process of coming out is cathartic. Yet since coming to terms with my sexuality, I found it arduous and unnecessary. At least that's what I kept telling myself. So today, I'm putting it in writing and not looking back.

I'm gay.

I'm also an athlete. For years, I struggled to unite these two identities in my own mind. Not until after my professional athletic career came to an end did I allow myself to understand my sexuality. Now, three years later, I'm finally ready to share that with people.

Thorson, whose time in the NFL was shortened by a broken foot, decided to leave football behind him after a brief stint with the Canadian Football League's Regina Roughriders.

In his post, Thorson also commented on the influence other out gay athletes have had on him and how he hopes to be able to offer solace and inspiration to other gay athletes who have yet to come out:

If not for the strength of athletes like Jason Collins, Michael Sam, and Brian Sims, I would likely still be struggling with my own cognitive dissonance. Each of their stories reinforced the truth that there is nothing wrong with being a competitive athlete and gay. Just as their stories helped me come to understand and accept myself, I've gotten to a point in my life where I hope to help someone else to understand his or her identity as a gay athlete. […]

This year has been quite a journey for me. I consider myself incredibly lucky for the opportunities I've had, my amazing friends and family, and to live at a time of great progress in gay rights. I wish that I could've shared this part of my life with more people individually but I'm also ready to move forward. My hope in coming out is that at least one other gay athlete will understand he or she isn't alone and that it really does get better.

Thorson’s post also chronicles how joining gay rugby team the Fog and meeting the mother of gay 9/11 hero Mark Bingham, who was himself a member of that team, helped him in his journey to reconciling being gay with being an athlete. 

Thorson told OutSports that he had wanted to write that post "many times before but just didn't have the right words to say.”

Thorson later took to Instagram to share his father’s response to him coming out. In an email, Thorson’s father wrote:  

Each of you have brought so many special blessing to me and taught me how hard and yet joyful it is to be a father. It would be a lie to say I wasn't shocked when you came out to Mom and I but, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at my level of tolerance and understanding given my years of intolerance.  It is quite amazing to me how blindly bigoted I have allowed myself to be and for what?  I think we fear what we don’t fully understand, like the monster under the bed, there’s really nothing there to be afraid of! I have always and will always be the biggest advocate (except for your mom) for my kids.  You all mean the world to us and today I celebrate the joy of having all of you in my life. 

Read Thorson's declaration of independence, HERE.


U.S. Patent Office Strips Washington Redskins of Six Federal Trademarks for 'Disparaging' Name

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The U.S. Patent office has canceled six federal trademark registrations for the Washington Redskins, Think Progress reports:

SnyderThe U.S. PTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board issued a ruling in the case, brought against the team by plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse, Wednesday morning.

“We decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered,” the board wrote in its opinion, “>which is here. A brief explanation of how the Board reached its decision is here.

“The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board agreed with our clients that the team’s name and trademarks disparage Native Americans. The Board ruled that the Trademark Office should never have registered these trademarks in the first place,” Jesse Witten, the plaintiffs’ lead attorney, said in a press release. “We presented a wide variety of evidence – including dictionary definitions and other reference works, newspaper clippings, movie clips, scholarly articles, expert linguist testimony, and evidence of the historic opposition by Native American groups – to demonstrate that the word ‘redskin’ is an ethnic slur.”

On last weekend's Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Oliver blasted Redskins' owner Dan Snyder, a staunch defender of the name, on his show.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

The team says it will appeal the ruling.

Continue reading "U.S. Patent Office Strips Washington Redskins of Six Federal Trademarks for 'Disparaging' Name" »


Michael Sam Signed to Four-Year, $2.65 Million Contract with St. Louis Rams

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The St. Louis Rams have officially signed gay NFL rookie Michael Sam and the rest of the Rams' Rookie class, NFL.com reports:

NFL Media's Albert Breer reported Thursday that the Rams have signed all 11 players selected by the team last month at Radio City Music Hall, according to a team source.

The complete list of signed Rams rookies includes: OT Greg Robinson, DT Aaron Donald, CB Lamarcus Joyner, RB Tre Mason, SS Mo Alexander, CB E.J. Gaines, QB Garrett Gilbert, OT Mitchell Van Dyk, FS C.B. Bryant, DE Michael Sam and C Demetrius Rhaney.

FOX Sports reports that Sam was offered a four-year, $2.65 million contract, with $46,000 of it guaranteed.

Sam tweeted on Thursday: "Grateful, humbled, and motivated after officially signing with all my Rams rookie brothers. Let's do this!! #RamUp "


Michael Sam on His Teammates: ‘They Respect Me As A Human Being and As A Football Player’

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USA Today takes a look at how Michael Sam has been holding up in NFL preseason training and how he is fitting in with his fellow teammates on the St. Louis Rams. 

"He's learning his role here. We've got such a deep D-line, he's going to fight for his position," [defensive end Robert] Quinn said. "He gives it 110% while he's out here. He wants to learn his playbook, wants to help his team win.

"He's a football player here. That's all that really matters." […]

The Rams also brought Wade Davis, a former NFL player and executive director of the You Can Play Project advocacy group for gay and lesbian athletes, in shortly after the draft to talk with Rams players about having a gay teammate.

Sam said he appreciated the gesture, though he didn't think it was necessary.

"They respect me as a human being and as a football player," he said of his St. Louis teammates.

Sam said with all the past attention and media spotlight, it’s a welcome change to be seen as just another rookie vying for one of the 53 spots on the final roster at the end of preseason.

He added: "I thought our defensive line at Mizzou was pretty tough. This is a whole new level. I've got to up my game."


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