Tag: St. Louis Rams

NFL Players Sport “I Can’t Breathe” Message to Support Eric Garner Protests

1cb2f3ce08f69330670f6a706700a6d6LANDOVER, Md. (AP) — A week after their “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” show of solidarity, several St. Louis Rams players made another societal statement Sunday with the message: “I Can’t Breathe.”

The slogan refers to Eric Garner, who died after a New York police officer placed him in a chokehold during an arrest for selling loose cigarettes. A grand jury decided last week that it would not indict the officer. A video of the arrest showed Garner gasping, “I can’t breathe.”

Guard Davin Joseph wrote the words on the cleats he wore during pregame warmups before the Rams beat the Washington Redskins 24-0. Tight end Jared Cook had it written on his wrist tape. Receiver Kenny Britt had several names — including Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin — written on his blue and gold cleats. The names were of black men or teens whose deaths led to protests.

“I feel like we should support what we feel is right,” said Joseph, who intended to wear the cleats during the game but had to change because of the condition of the slick turf at the Redskins’ stadium. “We should always have an opinion of sticking up for people who don’t have a voice.”

Joseph Tweeted an image of his shoes before the game with the message: “R.I.P. Eric Garner.”

Reggie Bush
Reggie Bush

Players at other NFL games expressed similar sentiments. Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush had “I Can’t Breathe” written in black across his blue warmup shirt. Browns cornerback Johnson Bademosi wrote the message on the back of the shirt he wore before a game in Cleveland.

“Honestly, I’ve always been the quiet kid. I’ve always been the one who’s reserved, to kind of sit back and not really get into politics and things like that,” said Bush, whose mother has been a police officer for about 20 years. “But I don’t know why I just felt some kind of … I guess the situation just touched me.

“It’s kind of resonated with me. Not because I’ve been through a similar situation or because I’ve seen anybody go through it. I just really felt terrible about what was going on these past couple of weeks.”

Lions coach Jim Caldwell supported Bush’s action.

Continue reading “NFL Players Sport “I Can’t Breathe” Message to Support Eric Garner Protests”

St. Louis Rams Players Show Support for Ferguson Protesters in Sunday’s Pre-Game

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Members of the Rams raised their arms during pregame introductions as a salute to nearby Ferguson, Missouri. (CBS Sports)

ST. LOUIS — Five Rams players used the team’s pregame introductions to offer a show of support for nearby Ferguson before Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

As the offense was introduced, Rams tight end Jared Cook and receivers Kenny BrittStedman BaileyChris Givens and Tavon Austin stopped near the tunnel and raised their hands in a nod to the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.  (Wilson’s resignation from the police force was announced Saturday.)

“We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something,” Cook said. “We haven’t been able to go down to Ferguson to do anything because we have been busy. Secondly, it’s kind of dangerous down there and none of us want to get caught up in anything.

“So we wanted to come out and show our respect to the protests and the people who have been doing a heck of a job around the world.”

Earlier this week, the Rams spent time lamenting the fact that there wasn’t much they could do to help right now with the unrest in Ferguson. But Cook said he plans to go to Ferguson once things settle down.

“My sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law — all of them went this past week for Thanksgiving,” Cook said. “They came back and reported to me about the things they saw and what was going on around there. Definitely, I will be making a trip to Ferguson.”

Britt claimed that he and his teammates were not “taking sides” with their display.

“We wanted to show that we are organized for a great cause and something positive comes out of it,” Britt said. “That’s what we hope we can make happen. That’s our community. We wanted to let the community know that we support the community.”

Continue reading “St. Louis Rams Players Show Support for Ferguson Protesters in Sunday’s Pre-Game”

Former Star Center Jason Brown Trades NFL Career for Tractor to Help Feed Needy

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Former NFL Player Jason Brown tends to his fields in Louisburg, N.C. (CBS NEWS)

LOUISBURG, N.C. – At one point number 60, Jason Brown, was one of the best centers in the NFL. At one point he had a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams.  And at one point he decided it was all meaningless – and just walked away from football.

“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,'” said Brown. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.'”

So what could possibly trump the NFL?

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Jason Brown gets ready for a play against the New England Patriots in 2010. (ELSA, GETTY IMAGES)You wouldn’t believe. 

Jason Brown quit football to be a plain, old farmer — even though he’d never farmed a day a in his life.

Asked how he learned to even know what to do, Brown said:

“Get on the Internet. Watch YouTube videos.”

He learned how to farm from YouTube.  Thanks to YouTube and some good advice from other farmers here in Louisburg, N.C., this week Jason finished harvesting his first, a five-acre plot of sweet potatoes.

“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” said Brown. He said he has never felt more successful.

“Not in man’s standards,” said Brown. “But in God’s eyes.”

But God cares about the NFL, right? There are people praying to him on the field all the time. “Yeah, there’s a lot of people praying out there,” said Brown. “But, when I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service.”

See, his plan for this farm, which he calls “First Fruits Farm,” is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to food pantries. Today it’s all five acres–100,000 pounds–of sweet potatoes.  “It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away,” said Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy. “And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”

Brown has 1,000 acres here, which could go a long way toward eliminating hunger in this neck of North Carolina.  “Love is the most wonderful currency that you can give anyone,” said Brown.

To see video of this story, click here.

article by Steve Hartman via cbsnews.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

Colin Kaepernick to Start as 49ers QB on Sunday at Rams

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) gestures after his second start in an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. The 49ers defeated the Saints 31-21. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) gestures after his second start in an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Nov. 25, 2012. The 49ers defeated the Saints 31-21. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Colin Kaepernick will start at quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday at St. Louis. Coach Jim Harbaugh made the announcement Wednesday that Kaepernick would go over Alex Smith after the second-year pro led the NFC West-leading Niners (8-2-1) to victories in the past two games, his first two NFL starts.

He says, “Colin we believe has the hot hand.”

Kaepernick has completed 48 of 74 passes for 680 yards and three touchdowns with one interception and was sacked six times. He has a 102.3 passer rating.

Smith, the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick, hardly looked happy on the sideline during Sunday’s win over the Saints after being medically cleared from a concussion suffered in the first half of a 24-24 tie against St. Louis on Nov. 11.

article by Janie McCauley via thegrio.com     

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.