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OutSports Founder Cyd Zeigler Talks Michael Sam And The NFL's Homophobia

Cyd

Founder of OutSports Cyd Zeigler sat down with the NFL Network to discuss the St. Louis Rams' decision to cut Michael Sam and not offer him a position on the team's practice squad. Commenting on how much Sam's sexuality has influenced his current position, Zeigler commented, “I don’t believe [Sam's] not at the St. Louis Rams because he is gay. I believe he is not in the NFL because he is gay.” You'll recall that once Sam was cut from the Rams' roster, the 31 other teams in the NFL had 24 hours to either add Sam to their roster or their practice squad. No team chose to do so, leaving Sam's prospects in the NFL uncertain. 

When asked whether the media played a role in Sam's ultimately not being offered a position by an NFL Team, Zeigler made sure to bring up the now notorious report by ESPN on Sam's showering habits in the Rams locker room:

"I think the media played a big role. Last week’s report by ESPN about his showering habits hurt him. I think that it was going so well for a few weeks in the preseason, we were just talking about Michael Sam the football player then all of a sudden last week it was a big reminder of the power of him being gay in the locker room and how much people want to talk about that. And that’s sad to me...He has to [end up on a team’s practice squad]. 

Though Sam faces an uphill battle getting on another team’s practice squad after failing to make the Rams’ squad, Zeigler believes that his talent and ability merit a spot on an NFL team: “If he is not on at least a practice squad in the next couple of weeks right now we have to say that the NFL has a big problem with homophobia."

However, Zeigler still has faith that Sam will ultimately find a place in the NFL, commenting that the organization is in his eyes, "a meritocracy” and that Sam will ultimately find a home on an NFL team for one simple reason: “Sam is too good.”

You can watch Zeigler's interview HERE


Michael Sam Goes Unclaimed By 31 NFL Teams, Rams Pass On Offering Him Practice Squad Spot: VIDEO

Sam3

Michael Sam's prospects of becoming the first openly gay NFL player dimmed over the weekend - with Sam failing to be claimed by the other 31 NFL teams after being cut by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday. The Rams also passed on signing Sam onto their team's 10-man practice squad.

Outsports' Jim Buzinski reports on Sam's current situation:

With the Rams out of the picture for now, the number of teams possible to pick up Sam has dwindled. He plays defensive end in a 4-3 system, and that is used by only half the teams. Of that half, most teams are already set at defensive line, so Sam would need to find a team that has a need for his skills. [...]

If Sam fails to be signed to a practice squad this week, he can work out on his own and be ready in case a team needs his services during the season. He can also explore playing in the Canadian Football League, which would at least get him playing time. Teams must announce practice squad acquisitions by 4 p.m. each day, and with the season starting in less than a week, it appears highly unlikely Sam will be on an NFL team this week.

Buzinski also pointed out that, according to NFL data site Pro Football Focus, Sam was rated the 44th best out of 100 defensive ends in a 4-3 scheme - making his inability to secure a practice squad spot puzzling. Previously, Outsports stated that if the other 31 NFL teams passed on Sam - who led the Rams in tackles and sacks in the four-game preseason - homophobia would be a contributing factor

Others, such as Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Eric Wood, placed blame on ESPN's continuous (and, at times, sensational) coverage of Sam's preseason. 

Last week, Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher praised Sams' preseason performance, saying "I believe he can play in this league." Sam himself was also pleased with his performance and said he was "very confident" he would make an NFL roster. 

Watch an ESPN segment with NFL analyst and former coach Herman Edwards sharing his advice for Sam, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Michael Sam Goes Unclaimed By 31 NFL Teams, Rams Pass On Offering Him Practice Squad Spot: VIDEO" »


Michael Sam Fails to Make St. Louis Rams Final Cut

Sam

Early reports are coming in that Michael Sam has failed to make the St. Louis Rams' final cut and will not be on the team's 53-man roster.  

Sam was widely seen to be competing for the ninth spot on the defensive line with fellow rookie Ethan Westbrooks.

Tweeted Sam:

Outsports reports that Sam will be available to the other 31 teams for 24 hours.

If he gets claimed, he will have a spot on the roster of that team. If he is not claimed, he can be added to the Rams' 10-man practice squad. This means he can practice with the team but not play, and his salary would be much less than the $440,000 he would get for making the roster; practice players are guaranteed a minimum salary of $6,300 per week for the 17-week season.

All throughout the preseason, Sam had been demonstrating his prowess on the field as defensive end - including an impressive sack of Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel ("Johnny Football") during last week match-up. 

Earlier this week, Rams' head coach Jeff Fisher praised Sams' performance, saying "I believe he can play in this league"

[photo via Instagram]


ESPN Apologizes For Segment on Michael Sam's Shower Habits with Teammates: VIDEO

Espn

In an attempt to discuss how Michael Sam is fitting in with his new teammates, ESPN aired a segment Tuesday featuring reporter Josina Anderson discussing Michael Sam's showering habits in the Rams locker room: when he's showering, which teammates he might be showering with, why he might not be showering with others, etc... 

You know, important hard-hitting sports journo stuff.

Needless to say, the clumsy report didn't go over well - with Rams defensive end Chris Long tweeting shortly afterwards:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch adds that Rams coach Jeff Fisher was also angry about the report:

Fisher“I’m extremely disappointed in her piece,” Fisher told the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday, not long before the team boarded buses for the airport and the trip to Miami for tonight’s preseason finale.

“I think it’s unethical,” Fisher continued. “I think it’s very, very unprofessional. Not only the piece itself, the content. (But also) the manner in which she did it.” [...]

“I’m disappointed for Mike,” Fisher said. “I’m disappointed for the players who she put in this position, and mostly I’m disappointed for her because she felt what she was doing was right — and it wasn’t right.”

ESPN proceeded to issue an apology on Wednesday, saying:

"ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report," the network said in a statement. "Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports."

Clearly.

Watch the segment in question, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "ESPN Apologizes For Segment on Michael Sam's Shower Habits with Teammates: VIDEO" »


Michael Sam Survives First NFL-Mandated Roster Cut

Sam

Michael Sam, the first out gay player to be drafted into the NFL, made it past a critical cut in the St. Louis Rams’ roster yesterday, keeping alive hopes that he will make the team’s final lineup. AFP reports:

The Rams trimmed four players from the active roster to reach the NFL-required limit of 75 players by Tuesday, but another 22 players must be dropped by Saturday afternoon to create the final 53-man roster for the regular-season openers.

The Rams play their final pre-season game Thursday at Miami and will open the regular season at home against Minnesota on September 7.

Sam, a rookie from the nearby University of Missouri, is among eight defensive ends competing for up to six expected spots at the position. He ranks third on the right side depth chart but injuries could see the Rams keep more players than usual at the position as a precaution.

Though Sam has had a strong pre-season showing, notably sacking Johnny Manziel on Sunday, Sam’s biggest hurdle to landing a spot on the roster could be another rookie on the St. Louis bench this year, Ethan Westbrooks, who, according to Business Insider and Sports Illustrated, “is playing out of his mind” and “is the apparent frontrunner to take the final roster spot for a defensive lineman.”

The Rams' will announce the final team roster this Saturday. 

(photo via Instagram)


Michael Sam Sacks Johnny Manziel Twice in Preseason Match Against Cleveland Browns: WATCH

Manziel

In last night's preseason match-up between the Cleveland Browns and St. Louis Rams, defensive end Michael Sam collided with quarterback Johnny Manziel twice.

On the first of the two sacks, Sam even threw up Manziel's "money" gesture as a celebratory jest.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP... 

USA Today reports:

Manziel“He’s a talented kid,’’ Sam said of Manziel. “He isn’t called ‘Johnny Football’ for nothing. It was fun getting to play against Manziel in an NFL game.”

Sam now has three sacks this preseason after he recorded his first last week against the Green Bay Packers.

Manziel said he made sure to give Sam props after the game.

“He had an incredible year when we played them at Missouri this past year,’’ Manziel said. “The guy goes through a lot of stuff. He gets heckled by everybody, I’m sure. He came up to me and said, ‘Hello.’ It was just a brief interaction. He played pretty well.’’

The Rams have one last preseason game against the Miami Dolphins this Thursday - the final chance for Sam to secure a spot on the official season's roster. Final cuts are announced August 30.

Previously, "Michael Sam Makes Historic NFL Preseaso Debut: 'I Can Play In This League' - VIDEO" 

Continue reading "Michael Sam Sacks Johnny Manziel Twice in Preseason Match Against Cleveland Browns: WATCH" »


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