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Keith Olbermann Rips Indiana: The NCAA Must Move the Final Four — VIDEO

Olbermann

On his show last night, Keith Olbermann delivered a searing argument about why the NCAA must move the Final Four out of Indiana, arguing that sports has always been inextricably involved in politics.

Says Olbermann in his critique:

"The football league in this country and the college sports league in this country are tacitly supporting a law that allows those that have voluntarily chosen to join a group to discriminate and be prejudiced at the expense of those who may or may not have had any choice at all and the reality of course is not. The NCAA needs to move the Final Four out of Indianapolis and the NFL must warn Indiana and the Colts. Because ultimately you and I have a choice - do we participate in these laws, or do we do only as much as even the narrow prejudiced sports leagues of the 1930s, the 40s, and the 50s did. Opt out. Stay away, keep our business elsewhere until the laws of hate are gone."

He adds:

"Your choice is this. Do you endorse in this Indiana law a revival of the kind of hatred that opened the door for Jim Crow or do you repudiate it?"

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

The NCAA has thus far said that it will re-evaulate its relationship with the state going forward but it has resisted, despite calls from high-profile figures like Charles Barkley, removing this year's Final Four from Indiana.

Continue reading "Keith Olbermann Rips Indiana: The NCAA Must Move the Final Four — VIDEO" »


Closeted Bisexual NFL Player Says Michael Sam 'Does Not Speak for All Gay Men'

Sam

Speaking anonymously with TMZ, a bisexual NFL player pushed back against comments made by Michael Sam after the openly gay athlete said in a recent interview that he respected the closeted football players who reached out to him, before adding that they didn't "have the same courage" to come out before staring their NFL journey like Sam did.

"As a bisexual man, I just feel like Michael Sam does not speak for all gay men," the player reportedly told TMZ Sports. "He has his own opinion ... but DON'T say that we don't have the courage to come out. It's totally wrong. Just speak for yourself. No one else."

The player added that he feels the NFL still isn't ready for openly gay or bisexual players but that Sam did get a fair chance in the league, he just didn't "perform well."


Could Repealing LGBT Protections Cost Houston The 2016 Final Four, 2017 Super Bowl?

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Since Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed an anti-LGBT religious freedom bill this week, the backlash has been enormous. 

Celebrities, corporationschurches and even the White House have come out against the discriminatory law — with some announcing boycotts of the Hoosier State. They include the NCAA, which issued a statement saying it's concerned about how the law will affect its student-athletes and employees during the men's basketball Final Four in Indianapolis next weekend. There's also a petition calling for the Big 10 Conference to move its football championship out of Indianapolis.

Meanwhile, in Houston — which is scheduled to host the 2016 Final Four and the 2017 Super Bowl — anti-LGBT groups continue their efforts repeal an Equal Rights Ordinance passed by the City Council last year. 

Super-Bowl-Houston-BannerAfter Houston became the last major city in the US to add LGBT protections in May, opponents launched a petition drive to repeal them. The city eventually rejected the petition, saying it didn't have enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot.  

Anti-LGBT groups filed a lawsuit, and last month a jury determined that among other things, the petition contains widespread forgery. Based on the jury's determinations about which signatures should be considered valid, Judge Robert Schaffer began a final count. More than a month later, Schaffer revealed this week that opponents of the ordinance are roughly 3,000 signatures short of the 17,269 needed to qualify for the ballot. However, approximately 8,500 signatures remain in question because they appear on pages circulated by people whose names aren't legible. 

The Houston Chronicle reports: 

The plaintiffs argue that legibility should not be a factor.

"We can't empower the government with the right to be the judge, jury and executioner on whether somebody has a right to vote based on penmanship," said Andy Taylor, attorney for the plaintiffs.

The city, however, contends that if they can't determine who a circulator is based on their signature or printed name, all the other signatures collected on that page should be discarded, per city charter and the judge's ruling.

"The plaintiffs are mounting every desperate challenge they possibly can to try to overcome the effect of the jury's verdict and the effect of the judge's post-verdict rulings," said Geoffrey Harrison, lead attorney for the city. "The plaintiffs lost at trial. They lose on the law. They lose on the facts. But they are prolonging this process by refusing to accept reality."

Judge Schaffer is expected to rule in early April on the final signature count. If he determines the petition has enough valid signatures, the ordinance likely would appear on the November ballot. If he determines the petition doesn't have enough valid signatures, the plaintiffs are expected to appeal.  

Either way, perhaps opponents of the ordinance and other citizens of Houston should take note of what's happening in Indiana. If Houston repeals LGBT protections and again becomes the only major US city without them, it's hard to imagine there wouldn't be a push to get the NCAA to move the 2016 Final Four and to get the NFL to move the 2017 Super Bowl — among other things. 

Texas lawmakers might also want to take note, as several measures similar to the Indiana bill have been introduced in the current session of the state Legislature.

Houston and Texas have a reputation as business-friendly places, but judging by what's happened in Indiana, that could easily and very quickly change. 


Michael Sam Says He's 'Confident' He'll Be Playing Football Somewhere This Year: VIDEO

Sam.Michael

Michael Sam says he's confident he'll be playing professional football somewhere this year — whether it's in the NFL or the Canadian Football League.

After a somewhat disappointing performance at the NFL's Veteran Combine on Sunday, Sam was swarmed by the media. 

ESPN reports:  

"As long as I still have that will, as long as I'm still healthy and can play this game, you will continue to see me fighting to get in this league," he said. ... 

"I am very confident that I will be playing football this year somewhere," Sam said. "So we'll leave that at that."

Sam was asked to clarify if the CFL was still an option. "If that's an opportunity, then I will take it," he said.

Cyd Zeigler at OutSports reports that no one asked Sam about being gay — which Zeigler says is a sign of progress. One reporter did ask about Sam's appearance on Dancing with the Stars — to which Sam replied, "Next question."

Sam's time in the 40-yard dash on Sunday was less-than-stellar, at 5.07 seconds, but he's never been known for his speed. 

Sam became the first openly gay player to appear in an NFL game last year, after he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams and before being cut. Sam later joined the Dallas Cowboys' practice squad before being cut again. 

Some have speculated that Sam — the former SEC co-defensive player of the year — isn't on an NFL team because he's gay. 

Hopefully, an NFL team will sign him again and give him another chance to prove himself in the preseason. 

But if not, or if he gets cut again, it sounds like Sam will be playing in the CFL. And if he becomes a star north of the border, questions about why he's not on an NFL team will become even more difficult for coaches and general managers to answer.  

Watch ESPN's report, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Michael Sam Says He's 'Confident' He'll Be Playing Football Somewhere This Year: VIDEO" »


Michael Sam: I Put My Hand Above Vito's Butt 'and the Rest Was History' — VIDEO

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NFL free agent and Dancing with the Stars contestant Michael Sam gave a fascinating and forthcoming talk last week at Quinnipiac University about a variety of topics, including his fiancé Vito Cammisano, speaking about how the couple met:

SamSam told the crowd (7:30 in clip AFTER THE JUMP) that he met Vito at a Playboy bunny party at the University of Missouri and their first meeting was not the greatest. Sam said that at the party he saw two students who were "hammered" on the patio of the house where the party was at and went to see if they were okay. The first one he spoke to was Vito, who snapped at him, and said, "Get the ef away from me....do you know who I am?"

Sam thought angrily to himself, "I don't care who the hell you are."

Sam didn't talk to Vito for two years after the exchange, and actively disliked him. But one night at a bar when friends were encouraging them to get along, Sam says he placed his hand above Vito's butt "and after that...the rest is history."

They later broke up, Vito graduated, and they got back together after Sam found himself comfortable to come out, and Vito helped get him there.

Sam added that he is now sometimes criticized for dating a white guy:

“My fiance gave me the strength [to come out]. The challenge I get now is, why are you not dating a gay black guy? Why are you dating a white guy? Why would I do that? Why would I leave someone I fell in love with and have been through so many challenges with.”

Sam also spoke about stereotypes, coming out, and other gay players in the NFL:

"I'm not the only in the NFL that is gay. I'm just the only one that is out."

He talked about Dancing with the Stars and the upcoming Veteran Combine:

“I thought I did enough in the preseason (last season), but apparently it wasn’t enough. I just have to work harder. I’m certain, whatever league I’m playing in, that I’m going to be playing football somewhere next year...I’ve fought adversity all my life. It helped me become me.”

Watch the full talk, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Michael Sam: I Put My Hand Above Vito's Butt 'and the Rest Was History' — VIDEO" »


NFL Free Agent Michael Sam Invited to Veteran Combine, Says He's 'Getting the Hang' of Dancing: VIDEO

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NFL free agent defensive end Michael Sam has been invited to the first-ever veteran combine, ESPN reports:

The veteran combine will be held March 22 in Tempe, Arizona, less than a week after Sam is set to start competing on the latest season of ABC's "Dancing With the Stars," which starts March 16.

Sam was chosen last year in the seventh round of the draft by the St. Louis Rams but the team released him before the season began. He was later signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad but then waived.

The Veteran Combine is similar to the one held for potential draftees but it is for current NFL free agents like Sam.

Following the announcement this week that Sam would compete on Dancing With The Stars, he released a statement on Twitter:

Very excited to be a part of @DancingABC. Football remains my unquestioned number 1 priority, however, while I continue to train and stay ready, I am ecstatic to participate in a fun, athletic competition like so many players before me have done. Filming this offseason is very flexible and allows me to be part of the veterans combine 3/22 if accepted or any other workouts. I’m looking forward to getting started with @PetaMurgatroyd and winning! Thanks for the support! #TeamSambatroyd

Paparazzi stationed outside Dancing With The Stars rehearsals caught up with Sam this week as he arrived to rehearsals with fiancé Vito Cammisano in tow, and asked him which was tougher, dancing or the combine.

"Both," he replied.

They also asked if he has nailed his first dance yet:

"I think it's a secret right now. It's different from football. Peta's (Murgatroyd, his partner) doing a great job. She's bearing with me. It's different than football, clearly. But I'm getting the hang of it. It's fun. Great workout."

And what kind of advice he had for gay kids nervous to come out.

"Be on your truth. On your truth."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "NFL Free Agent Michael Sam Invited to Veteran Combine, Says He's 'Getting the Hang' of Dancing: VIDEO" »


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