Sports Hub




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" »


Gay Games Make Powerful Impact on Hearts and Minds in Cleveland

Swimmers_kiss
(photo by brent mullins; photos below by cyd zeigler)

BY CYD ZEIGLER

The Gay Games bill themselves as the “games that change the world.” This week in one of America’s most purple states, they certainly changed Northeast Ohio.

Outside of religion, sports are America’s most powerful cultural force. For a sports town like Cleveland, where conversation about the Browns’ quarterback battle dominates the news, the Gay Games were the perfect tool to make inroads into the hearts and minds of Ohioans. 

ClevelandCertainly this Gay Games was smaller than any since 1986. While organizers claimed in the neighborhood of 7,000 registrants, participants at virtually every sport reported drastically smaller competitions than years past. If I had to make a wager, my best ballpark guess would put the number of actual competitors around 5,000. That’s quite small for the Gay Games.

Yet the event’s ability to affect change in this bellwether state was not diminished. You only had to walk through downtown, or even Little Italy several miles from the festival village, to see rainbow flags where you might not expect them. The power of the pink dollar was seen with rainbows plastered across seemingly every business from hot dog carts to Starbucks, from taxi cabs to the Cleveland Indians. Tower City Center, an iconic Cleveland landmark, was lit like a rainbow every night for the whole city to see. 

Yet the loudest rainbow flag was likely the smallest: a rainbow sticker on the bumper of a police cruiser parked outside the Renaissance Hotel, the de facto center of these Games. 

I made it a point all week to talk with the police officers across the city. They were in full force patrolling the swimming venue, on horses at rowing, with the bomb unit at track & field. They couldn’t have been friendlier, almost like a welcome committee in blue.

“We just want everyone to be safe,” said one cop whose K-9 Benny stole the show at the festival village. “We don’t want anyone to get hurt.”

Argentinian_soccer_team

The modern gay rights movement started when police raided the Stonewall Inn intent on rounding up a bunch of queers and drag queens in New York City. Forty-five years later their only concern in Cleveland was making sure no one bothers us again.

These Games also brought outreach to two of America’s biggest hurdles in the race for equality: The Christian Church and the GOP. The United Church of Christ was the first denomination to sponsor the Gay Games, and they did it at a high (silver) level. The Republican Party of Cuyahoga County manned a booth at the festival village all week.

The fact that Cleveland was selected over Boston and Washington DC to host the event meant a lot to the people of Cleveland. For an overlooked city that hasn’t won much in sports over the last half-century, hosting these Games was a source of pride. That the games were “gay” gave it that much more meaning. 

“I’m just so proud of this city,” a straight resident told me on the street. “We get a bad rap here in Cleveland and it’s been great to see the city really embrace the gay community.”

Yes, it was a smaller Gay Games. Yes, a big part of the reason was a lack of interest in Cleveland itself. And yes, few participants were there with the intent to shift the culture of Northeast Ohio.

Yet the lasting legacy of the 2014 Gay Games will be its role in changing how the blue-collar Lake Erie region views and treats LGBT people. Sure, Boston and Washington DC would have drawn bigger crowds. But their cultural impact would have been diminished in a state or a district with same-sex marriage and strong protections for LGBT people.

For Cleveland – for Ohio – these Gay Games were a watershed moment.

Cyd Zeigler is co-founder of Outsports.com. He has also written for CNN, MSNBC, Time and Playboy. He regularly appears on national sports media as an expert on LGBT issues in sports. Outsports is a media partner with the Gay Games.


Arizona State Football Player Edward 'Chip' Sarafin Comes Out As Gay

Football

Arizona State Linebacker Edward “Chip” Sarafin has come out as gay, becoming the first college football player to publicly come out while he is still an active player. The 6’6", 320-pound redshirt senior shared his revelation in an interview with Compete magazine, a periodical that focuses on gay sports. Sarafin talked about seeing bullying when he was in high school and his recent experience coming out to his teammates:

"I went to school at Highland High, and it is definitely not the most diverse school. It’s probably 80 percent Mormon and 80 percent Caucasian. So there is definitely a disparity there in the types of people that you meet. I know a lot of times a lot of people who were bullied because they were different were actually bullied by athletes, and that made me really angry ... the athletes are supposed to be the role models, the heroes of the community ...,” Sarafin waxes.

Of his own coming out, Sarafin began telling his team-mates last spring. “It was really personal to me, and it benefited my peace of mind greatly.”

Sarafin says that he told his teammates mostly for himself and because he wanted them to hear it straight from him instead of the college rumor mill that all players find themselves subjected to at some point.

Meanwhile, OutSports reports that Arizona State coach Todd Graham issued a statement in support of Sarafin:

"We are a brotherhood that is not defined by cultural and personal differences, but rather an individual's commitment to the Sun Devil Way. Chip is a fifth-year senior and a Scholar Baller, a graduate and a master's student. His commitment to service is unmatched and it is clear he is on his way to leading a successful life after his playing career, a goal that I have for every student-athlete. Diversity and acceptance are two of the pillars of our program, and he has full support from his teammates and the coaching staff.”

Michael Sam also sent Sarafin some love, offering him words of encouragement and support on Twitter:

(photo via Compete)


Catholic High School Stands Behind Openly Gay Coach

Screen Shot 2014-08-14 at 7.35.30 AM

As we have reported many times before, Catholic schools do not have a good track record with gay teachers. As such, one would be forgiven for thinking that a story about a gay coach for a Catholic school, in South Dakota no less, would be one that ended in tragedy. Unbelievably, this is not the case; quite the opposite in fact.

Last week the volleyball and baseball coach for St. Mary High School, a Catholic school in Dell Rapids, South Dakota, Nate Alfson came out in an email to Outsports. Said Alfson of his follow-up meeting with the school:

The meeting with the school went great. We talked about being on the same page as each other and that they were willing to walk through this with me and support me. They want me to be their volleyball coach again and that I was a great role model to the athletes.

I couldn't be happier that they are supportive and want me to be a part of the coaching team. It's a sense of relief to be able to move forward and focus on volleyball and the girls. This season is about them and the hard work they put in. The support has been amazing and I can't wait to live a free life!

It's almost as if Alfson's orientation has no bearing whatsoever on his ability to be a leader, teacher, and role model. Congratulations to St. Mary for acknowledging and supporting Alfson's worth as a teacher and a person rather than dragging everyone down with archaic dogma, and here's hoping that more Catholic schools will follow their lead.

Check out a KSFY report on the original story HERE.


Give a Medal to These 104 Winning Instagram Pics from 'Gay Games 9' in Cleveland: PHOTOS

Gg9

Gay Games 9 kicked off on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio. The Games, conceived in 1980 by Dr. Tom Waddell and held every four years beginning in 1982, are open to all athletes regardless of sexual orientation and are expected to unite more than 9,000 mostly-LGBT participants and 30,000 spectators from around the world in competition and celebration, including a team from Russia:

Russia

There are more than 35 sports and cultural events taking place and out Olympians Greg Louganis and (a newly engaged) Blake Skjellerup are in attendance. Lance Bass, who performed at the Opening Ceremony (which included a message from President Obama and another performance by The Pointer Sisters), has been busy about town.

Team

While competition has just begun to get fully underway and continues through the 16th we've collected 104 of our favorite Instagram photos and videos taken by athletes and spectators at the Opening Ceremony, parties, preparations and medal events that have already taken place.

And if you're at the Gay Games and have a great photo that you would like us to share, tag us @TLRD on Instagram or Twitter. Good luck to all the athletes who are competing!

Check out our big gay Gay Games gallery, and see if you can pick out some familiar faces, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Give a Medal to These 104 Winning Instagram Pics from 'Gay Games 9' in Cleveland: PHOTOS" »


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged