I am delighted to post the great news that Michael Sam, who came out earlier this year, is now the NFL’s first openly gay player. Sam is now a Ram.
I have been following the draft each day to watch the selections of my beloved Bears. However, I have been increasing nervous that Sam might not be drafted. It is a great day for the Rams, the NFL, and the country in my view. Sam shattered one of the most virulent barriers in professional sports. While many players and coaches are entirely supportive, the homophobia has a long and disgraceful history with individual players and some owners.
I am very happy with the choices of the Bears. I was a bit surprised by the selection of Ego Ferguson, LSU defensive tackle, but I have come to trust Trestman’s instincts. He was criticized for picking Kyle Long last year and it proved an inspired choice.
Sam was selected as the 249th overall pick in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He was an All-American and the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at Missouri. It took guts to come out and the Rams secured a noble place in history with this selection. Perhaps in my lifetime the sexual orientation of a player will no longer be such a controversy. In the meantime, watching a player like Sam on the field will do more to overcome stereotypes than every public campaign by every advocacy group in the country. While many people do not like football and may be underwhelmed by this news, it is the most popular sport in the country and watching a gay man play this sport could be a transformative moment for some.
As for Sam, he tweeted “Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I’m using every (ounce) of this to achieve greatness!!”
Many of us want to join Sam and say “Thank you St. Louis Rams.”