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Michael Sam to Compete on 'Dancing With the Stars': REPORT

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NFL free agent Michael Sam has signed up to compete on Dancing with the Stars in March, according to TMZ:

Michael -- the first openly gay player drafted in the NFL -- will be part of Season 20, which fires up next month. Here's the problem. Sam -- who insinuated he was cut from the NFL because he is gay -- has vowed to get back in the league and said he'd take part in the first-ever veteran's combine on March 22.

We'll report on any developments as they come...

Sam told Sports Illustrated last week that he planned to continue trying to play in the NFL, saying:

"I’ll give up the game when my legs are both broken. I’m a football player and I will keep fighting for my dream to play in the NFL."


Jason Collins Has Been Mentoring Other LGBT Athletes Who Have Yet To Come Out Of The Closet: VIDEO

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Jason Collins has been busy since becoming the NBA’s first openly gay player and subsequently retiring from the league. Since leaving the sport, Collins explained in an interview with The New York Daily News he’s spent his time mentoring other young, queer basketball players who have yet to come out of the closet.

“I’m in contact with other athletes, collegiate and professionally who are members of the LGBT community who maybe aren't ready to come out publicly but they have in their private lives,” Collins explained. “At this point it’s up to each individual person who has their life to live.”

He continued:

“I would hope that one day they do come out, especially while they’re active because you can see from my example, you can see from Robbie Rogers in soccer, you can have the best of both worlds.

I know there are more members of the LGBT community who haven’t yet stepped forward and (I’m) encouraging them that when they do that the world is ready to accept them and support them. As far as the NBA goes- the NBA is an incredible league. Basketball is a sport of inclusion and diversity and I hope they’re able to know how good it will be to be able to live their lives that they want off the court and also be able to have their job on the court.”

Watch Jason Collins speak with Chris Hayes about his newfound role as a mentor to young, closeted athletes AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Jason Collins Has Been Mentoring Other LGBT Athletes Who Have Yet To Come Out Of The Closet: VIDEO" »


Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out

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The words "It Gets Better" mean so much to Dalton Ray that he got them tattooed on his arm. 

Ray is a former high school football star who's now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

In a post for OutSports, Ray recounts how he struggled with his sexual orientation — both on and off the field — before finally coming out during his junior year of high school:  

Middle school was a challenge, but high school was the true battle for me. Subtle feelings turned into everyday thoughts. It increasingly became clear this wasn't just a phase for me.

To make it even worse I started hearing my peers, including some of my closest friends, use terms like "gay", "faggot", and "queer" to describe when something was stupid or wrong. Eventually that's how I felt - I felt like something was wrong with me, and worst of all I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror because I was so ashamed of who I was. ... 

One saying that has guided me through all of this: "It Gets Better." It's hard to realize that when you're stuck in the middle of the country hearing gay slurs every day. As I opened up my true self to people, I learned the power and truth of those three words. It's meant so much that I tattooed it on my arm.

In an "It Gets Better" video accompanying his OutSports piece, Ray — who also competed in basketball and track — says he didn't think it was possible to be an openly gay athlete until he became one:

Ray"I had this huge misconception that you couldn't be in sports and also be gay. That's wrong. That's completely, utterly wrong. I think once I actually came out I became a better athlete. I became a better competitor. I also became a better friend, a better brother, a better son, because I was finally being honest with not just everyone around me, but being honest with myself, and that's an extremely important part of life."  

Ray also has a powerful message for LGBT youth who are contemplating suicide:

"A bad day doesn't mean you have a bad life. If you don't think people wouldn't miss you, you're completely wrong, because you have friends and family and people in your lives that would miss you so much, so don't make them know what it feels like to live without you, because you're special, you're unique, you're an awesome person, and it gets better."

Read Ray's full article here and watch his "It Gets Better" video, AFTER THE JUMP ... 

Continue reading "Former High School Football Star Explains Why He Got 'It Gets Better' Tattoo After Coming Out" »


One Year After Coming Out, Michael Sam Is 'Not On A Team Because He's Gay'

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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." 


Snowboarder Records Moment the Mountain Cracks Beneath Him in an Avalanche: VIDEO

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Snowboarder Sorin Radu was making a run down Papusa Mountain in Gorj, Romania this week when he had an unexpected visitor in the form of an avalanche.

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Radu was wearing a GoPro3+ camera which captured the moment the snow crust began to break and ripple all around him, eventually sweeping him up in the deluge of white powder.

Radu lived to post the video to YouTube.

Watch his ride, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Snowboarder Records Moment the Mountain Cracks Beneath Him in an Avalanche: VIDEO" »


Obama Praises Robbie Rogers for 'Blazing Trail' as Out Gay Player at L.A. Galaxy White House Visit: VIDEO

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President Obama hosted the 2014 Stanley Cup champion L.A. Kings and the 2014 Major League Soccer champion L.A. Galaxy at the White House today. After praising the teams and their accomplishments, Obama took a moment to offer a shout-out to Robbie Rogers:

"I want to recognize what Robbie Rogers of the Galaxy has done for a lot of people by blazing a trail as one of professional sports' first openly gay players. My guess is that as an athlete Robbie wants to win, first and foremost. That's what competition is all about. But Robbie, you've also inspired a whole lot of folks here and around the world and we're very proud of you."

Said Rogers following the ceremony: "I wasn't expecting it...I'll never forget it. I've already texted my mom about it."

Watch the shout-out and interview with Rogers afterward, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Rogers posted a photo on Instagram earlier in the day, writing: "Lovely little visit to The White House w/ my boys @LAGalaxy"

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Continue reading "Obama Praises Robbie Rogers for 'Blazing Trail' as Out Gay Player at L.A. Galaxy White House Visit: VIDEO" »


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