Defensive end Michael Sam is attributing his inability to get signed to an NFL squad to his publicly coming out as gay in 2013, while others insist he just doesn’t have what it takes and that Sam was never more than a “stunt” for the NFL.
“I think if I never would have came out, never would have said those words out to the public, I would still be currently in the NFL. But because of me saying those words, I think it could have played a huge part in my current situation,” Sam said in a recent interview.
A huge media splash surrounded Sam’s draft in 2014, touted as historical because he was the first openly gay man ever drafted by an NFL team.
After winning co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors in his senior season at Missouri, Sam, after “coming out,” was repeatedly passed over in the 2014 draft. The St. Louis Rams finally drafted him in the seventh round, the 249th of 256 players selected in the draft. The Rams cut Sam shortly before the season. Sam joined the Cowboys practice squad later in the season before his release in Dallas. He ended up playing in one game with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League last year.
Some insiders are insisting that Sam is playing the LGBT victim card by accusing the NFL of anti-gay bias rather than man-up and admit that he simply doesn’t measure up as a pro athlete.
In a March broadcast of “The Herd” on Fox Sports 1, Jason Whitlock commented on a report that in 2014 the St. Louis Rams had made a deal with the NFL to draft Sam out of the University of Missouri in order to not appear on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.”
Whitlock said he was not surprised by the report, saying the move to draft Sam was merely a “play to the politically correct crowd.”
“Michael Sam was a stunt by the NFL. It was a play to the politically correct crowd. The guy’s too short, not fast enough off the ball, he’s not an NFL player, and I think people did the homework on him and said, ‘You know what, I don’t know if he really, really loves the game.’”
Sam, however, has intimated that darker forces are at work.
“I know how to play this game, I can play this game,” Sam said. “I don’t know what goes on in the NFL with the guys who are making the decisions, but whatever it is, hopefully it’s not what I think it is.”
When the Rams initially took Sam, President Obama congratulated him publicly for being the first openly gay football player to be drafted.
“From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove every day that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,” Obama said.
In January 2015, Sam proposed marriage to his boyfriend, Vito Cammissano, in Saint Peter’s Square in Vatican City.
Sam tweeted the proposal photo, showing him dropping to one knee before Cammissano, along with the note: “Thank you for saying yes,” a post that Sam later removed.
In reporting on Sam’s engagement, TMZ called the proposal “an act of defiance.” The Catholic Church opposes same-sex marriage, and Pope Francis has repeatedly insisted that marriage is the union of one man with one woman.
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