Tag: Michael Sam

Michael Sam is One of GQ’s Men Of The Year For 2014

1415727997651_michael-sam-gq-magazine-december-2014-moty-coverMichael Sam might be currently looking for another opportunity to prove he can play in the NFL after being released from the Dallas Cowboys’s practice squad last month. But the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and former All-American at the University of Missouri has nonetheless nabbed another huge honor: being named one of GQ’s Men of the Year for 2014.

Sam’s interview with the magazine will be rolled out later this week.

Sam, who became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL last spring, graces one of six GQ covers released as part of the Men of the Year rollout. The 24-year-old shares the honor with “Guardians of the Galaxy” hunk Chris Pratt, Ansel Elgort and Shailene Woodley of “The Fault in Our Stars”, comedian Dave Chappelle, and “Foxcatcher” star Steve Carell, among others.

article by Curtis M. Wong via huffingtonpost.com

After Brief Time with Rams, Michael Sam Signed To Dallas Cowboys Practice Squad

Michael Sam, who made international headlines last spring as the first openly gay athlete to be drafted to an NFL team, has been signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad, having passed his physical exam, team officials said today.

Sam, 23, who was signed to the St. Louis Rams as a seventh-round draft pick, but got cut from that team over the weekend, came out to the public at the end of his NCAA season at Mizzou earlier this year.

After being cut by the Rams, no NFL team stepped forward to pick the defensive lineman up–until yesterday. Sam flew to Dallas on a moment’s notice last night, for today’s physical, and Sam will wear jersey #46 for the team this season.

“Michael Sam is just too good–he was the [SEC Defensive player of the Year] at Mizzou, there’s just no way he can’t play at the NFL level,” said Super Bowl winning, former Baltimore Ravens QB Brandon Ayanbadejo, a longtime advocate of LGBT rights.

After coming out, Sam’s draft ranking plunged, leading many observers to wonder if the NFL was really ready for an openly gay player. “the fact that no team took the opportunity to sign Sam after the Rams cut him, speaks volumes,” OutSports editor Cyd Ziegler observed, but added, “The Cowboys make a great fit for him.”

Although Dallas is in the heart of a state seen by the LGBT community as among the most homophobic in the country, Cowboys officials “welcome [Sam] to our football family, as we do every other player who signs with us.”Head coach Jason Garrett said Sam would be an asset to the club. “We just want to give him a chance to come in and help our football team,” Garrett noted. “That’s where our attention is (football). What people say outside the organization is up to them.”

The Cowboys joined NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s Respect At Work program, developed with the help of Wade Davis, an out former NFL player who now heads the You Can Play project.

The program is designed to create a “safe, welcoming environment” for gay athletes. Sam’s addition to the Cowboys’ practice squad also opens up opportunities for him to make the main team, whose defensive line has performed poorly in recent years.

Sam says the Cowboys were his favorite team while he was growing up in Texas.

article by Nathan James via gbmnews.com

Michael Sam’s Jersey Is #2 Among Drafted Rookies

Michael SamAlready making a splash without starting his first NFL game, St. Louis Rams draft pick, Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the National Football League is making some more news.

According to the NY Daily News, Sam’s rookie jersey is outselling every other draft pick but Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel. Although he was the 249th player selected in the draft, he is doing better than anyone picked in that position or ones picked earlier.

RELATED: Jason Collins Brooklyn Nets Jersey Top Seller on NBA.com

“This is unprecedented for a day-three pick, let alone a seventh round pick, to crack the top five rookies sold following draft weekend,” NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter told Outsports.com.

Here is the order, as of Monday, May 12:

1. Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns

2. Michael Sam, St. Louis Rams

3. Jadeveon Clowney, Houston Texans

4. Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings

5. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars

article by Cedric “Big Ced” Thornton via blackenterprise.com

 

Michael Sam Becomes First Openly Gay Man Selected in the NFL Draft (VIDEO)

CREDIT: AP

Michael Sam, a defensive end for the University of Missouri, was drafted by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday, making him the first openly gay athlete to be drafted in any of the four major American sports, and putting him on track to be the first openly gay player in the National Football League.

Sam, who was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, went as the 249th pick. He is only the second person ever to hold that title and fall out of the top 33 picks of the NFL draft. The other was Chad Lavalais of Louisiana State University, who was picked 142nd back in in 2004. Before the draft, CBS had Sam’s prospect ranking at 169.

If Sam went so late in the draft because teams were concerned about the unwanted attention that selecting the first gay player, they did not seem to be concerned about such impressions across the board; Zach Mettenberger, who plead guilty to sexual battery after groping a woman outside of a bar, went second in the sixth round of the draft. Prince Shembo, who was investigated in connection with the sexual assault of a woman who soon after committed suicide, was the 139th pick.

Now that Sam has been drafted, he will move onto the next challenge of securing a spot on the roster. He’ll need to make the team over the summer to become the first openly gay player actively in the NFL, and his spot isn’t guaranteed. As Alex Leichenger previously pointed out here on ThinkProgress, “Sam is considered undersized for an NFL defensive end and may have to become a linebacker in the pros…. His pass-rushing ability would be an advantage at outside linebacker, but there will be questions about whether he has the speed to play in pass coverage in the NFL.” Sam also had a fairly bad showing at the scouting combine earlier this year.

Still, some predicted that Sam would have difficulty finding a team that would draft him because of his coming out. One general manager predicted that he would not be drafted at all. And while public statements from teams and players in the league were encouraging, behind-the-scenes talk from people in the league showed doubt that Sam would garner a pick in the draft.

“I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down,” an NFL scout anonymously told Sports Illustrated. “There’s no question about it. It’s human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote ‘break that barrier?’”

Below is video of the moment when Sam got the news:

article by Annie-Rose Strasser via thinkprogress.com

Michael Sam to Receive Arthur Ashe Courage Award at ESPYs

Michael SamYesterday University of Missouri’s defensive end Michael Sam was selected as the winner of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The award, which is given to individuals who transcend sports, will be presented at The 2014 Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly (ESPYs) on July 16th. Other recipients of the award include Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela and Billie Jean King.

Michael Sam made history in February by becoming the first Division I college football player in history to come out as gay.  Sam, who was named the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-SEC selection during his senior year at Missouri, is expected to be picked in the NFL Draft in the upcoming days.  

Sam joined a growing list of notable athletes who have come out recently, including Jason Collins, Robbie Rogers, Brittney Griner, Orlando Cruz, Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey, and Tom Daley.

article by Hayley Miller via hrc.org

Jason Collins, 1st Openly Gay NBA Player, Signs With Nets and Appears in Game

Jason Collins defending Lakers guard MarShon Brooks. Until Sunday night, no NBA game had taken place with an openly gay player on the floor. (Gary A. Vasquez/USA Today Sports, via Reuters)

LOS ANGELES — Jason Collins, a 35-year-old center, signed a 10-day contract with the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon and played against the Lakers hours later, appearing in an NBA uniform for the first time since last spring, when he announced that he was gay.  The signing represents a significant step toward transforming North American professional sports into a more welcoming environment for gay athletes. Until Sunday night, no NBA game had taken place with an openly gay player on the floor. The NFL, Major League Baseball and the NHL — the continent’s other three traditional major sports leagues — have never had a publicly gay participant.

The very act of Collins’s suiting up and stepping onto the court — he entered the game to warm applause in the second quarter — represented a milestone in the effort to change a sports culture that some feel has lagged far behind society at large in acceptance of gay people. Collins played 11 minutes in the Nets’ 108-102 victory, finishing with no points, two rebounds, a steal and five fouls.

Collins said he had little time to process it all. He awoke Sunday morning to text messages from his agent and Nets Coach Jason Kidd alerting him to the move, and hours later he was signing his contract. A few hours after that, he was taking his physical and preparing to play his first game since April 17.  “Right now, I’m focused on trying to learn the plays, the game plan assignment,” Collins, sitting at a lectern, said less than an hour before the game Sunday night. “I don’t have time to really think about history right now.”

Continue reading “Jason Collins, 1st Openly Gay NBA Player, Signs With Nets and Appears in Game”

15 Football Honchos Who Are Standing With Michael Sam

Michael Sam

On Sunday, Michael Sam made headlines around the country when he came out as gay. If drafted, as projected, he will be the first openly gay player in the NFL.  While some people reacted poorly to the news, Sam has racked up plenty of support in the football world. See who’s standing with Sam below.

Dick Cass, Baltimore Ravens president

“We’re all about winning. If he’s a good football player who can help us win games, he will be welcomed here,” he said. “I’m disappointed it is such a big issue in 2014.”

John Elway, Denver Broncos executive

“I applaud Michael Sam and wish him the very best as he continues the pursuit of his NFL dream,” he told 7SPORTS. “We will evaluate Michael just like any other draft prospect — on the basis of his ability, character and NFL potential. His announcement will have no effect on how we see him as a football player.

John Mara and Steve Tisch, New York Giants co-owners

“Our sport, our game, is the ultimate meritocracy. You earn your way with your ability. As Patrick Burke and Wade Davis constantly remind all of us, regardless of who you are, what your background is and what your personal or sexual orientation is, if you can play, you can play. Michael’s announcement will not affect his position on our draft board,” said Mara.

“Michael Sam is a gifted athlete and a courageous man,” Tisch said. “I hope any NFL team would not hesitate to draft Michael if he is right for their team. Our game is the ultimate team game, and we often talk about how a team is a family. Regardless of where you are from, what your religious beliefs are, what your sexual orientation is, if you are good enough to be on the team, you are part of the family.

Robert Kraft, Patriots owner

“We’re about winning,” Kraft told the Boston Herald. “And anyone who can come in here and help us win, I personally don’t care what their ethnic background is, their racial background, the gender preference. If they can help us win, and they’re about team first, then I’m happy to have him here… I think it’s good for America.

Continue reading “15 Football Honchos Who Are Standing With Michael Sam”

Gay NFL Draft Prospect Michael Sam Praised for his Courage by First Lady Michelle Obama

Michael Sam in Irving, Texas, on 1 January 2014
Michael Sam is a former defensive lineman for the University of Missouri

Michael Sam, who aims to become the NFL’s first openly gay player, has won praise from First Lady Michelle Obama.  The 24-year-old former University of Missouri athlete revealed his sexuality on Sunday.  Mrs. Obama took to Twitter to call Sam “an inspiration to all of us”.

The National Football League has also welcomed the defensive lineman’s announcement, saying Sam has “honesty and courage.”  Mrs. Obama said of Sam: “We couldn’t be prouder of your courage both on and off the field.”

In the interview that aired on ESPN on Sunday, Sam said: “I came to tell the world I’m an openly gay man. If I work hard, if I make plays – that’s all that should matter.”

The athlete completed his college football career in December and is expected to be drafted by an NFL franchise in May.  He is said to have revealed his sexuality to his former college teammates at the University of Missouri’s Mizzou Tigers, but admitted doing so publicly was “a weight off his chest.”  “I probably may be the first but I won’t be the last,” he added. “And I think only good things will come from this.”

Continue reading “Gay NFL Draft Prospect Michael Sam Praised for his Courage by First Lady Michelle Obama”

How a Gay Football Star Could Change Black America for the Better

184220418-michael-sam-of-the-missouri-tigers-recovers-a-fumble
Michael Sam of the Missouri Tigers recovers a fumble for a touchdown against the Georgia Bulldogs on Oct. 12, 2013, in Athens, Ga. (KEVIN C. COX/GETTY IMAGES)

On Sunday night, Michael Sam made history. The college football standout and likely top NFL draft pick publicly acknowledged that he is gay, which would make him the first athlete in a major American professional team sport to announce he is gay at the very beginning of his career. Sam’s announcement is already one of the biggest sports stories ever, but the timing of his announcement could make it one of the biggest cultural stories ever as well.

Some of you may be scratching your heads right now trying to figure out why this story matters in an age in which the president of the United States is on the record supporting same-sex marriage, and NBA player Jason Collins came out as gay last year. But Sam’s story will likely have a far more significant impact than either of these milestones. Here’s why:

President Obama certainly has a measure of influence, particularly among black audiences. When he first ran for president, data showed an “Obama effect” among black test-takers whose scores markedly improved when he won. But influencing test scores in a condensed time frame is very different from having a long-term impact on community behavior. For instance, so far there is no data to suggest that the image of the president’s nuclear family, comprised of two married parents raising their children and two dogs together, has significantly altered the landscape within the black community, in which single parenthood has become the norm. That is simply to say that altering social behavior in a meaningful way is a tall order for any one man, but it may be particularly tough for a president.