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St. Louis Rams pick Michael Sam in NFL draft

Michael Sam Emotional

By RALPH D. RUSSO
AP College Football Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- Michael Sam was picked by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the NFL draft Saturday, becoming the first openly gay player drafted by a pro football team.

Sam played at Missouri, and came out as gay in media interviews earlier this year. His team and coaches knew his secret and kept it for his final college season.

He went on to have the best year of his career: He was the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year.

He was taken with the 249th overall pick out of 256. He'll start his professional career not far from the place where he played his college ball.

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Sam was considered a mid-to-late round pick, far from a sure thing to be drafted. He played defensive end in college, but he's short for that position in the NFL and slower than most outside linebackers, the position he'll need to transition to at the professional level.

The impact of his selection goes far beyond football. At a time when gay marriage is gaining acceptance among Americans, Sam's entry into the NFL is a huge step toward the integration of gay men into professional team sports. Pro sports have in many ways lagged behind the rest of society in acceptance.

Publicly, most people in and related to the NFL have been supportive of Sam. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said Sam would be welcome in the league and judged solely on his ability to play. A few wondered whether teams would be reluctant to draft Sam because of all the media attention that would come with it.

Fair or not, the NFL - coming off a season in which a bullying scandal involving players on the Miami Dolphins was one of the biggest stories in sports - was looking at a possible public relations hit if Sam was not drafted. He would likely have been signed as a free agent and given a chance to make a team in training camp, but to many it would have looked as if he was being rejected.

Now that he's here, it could be seen as an opportunity for the NFL to show that crass locker room culture is not as prevalent as it might have looked to those who followed the embarrassing Dolphins scandal.

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whisperhill May 11 2014 at 5:38 AM

Such hypocrisy makes me sick. Everyone knows there have been gay players since time began. So what's the damn big deal about Michael Sam? He's just a man.

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Danny May 11 2014 at 6:37 AM

You all sound like homophobes

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1 reply
blo2thehead Danny May 11 2014 at 6:42 AM

and proud of it

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1 reply
Donna blo2thehead May 11 2014 at 7:42 AM

It's funny how gays just terrify the hell out of straight white guys. *snort* It doesn't take a psychology major to figure that one out.

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nezdav May 11 2014 at 6:44 AM

Congratulations Michael Sam!!! You deserve to be there. Hopefully other NFL players will feel comfortable to come out now and be happy to be free.

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2 replies
Rob nezdav May 11 2014 at 6:54 AM

Why does it matter? This is really getting tedious. The 249th pick in the draft overshadows all other because of his behavior?

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1 reply
Donna Rob May 11 2014 at 7:41 AM

It matters because gays have been SECOND CLASS CITIZENS for eternity. These people are the pioneers of this new civil rights movement. But as a privileged white, straight (and probably Christian) male, you wouldn't get that.

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Christopher nezdav May 11 2014 at 7:11 AM

I am coming out myself and am proud to say I am a hetrasexual

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ybugster May 11 2014 at 6:47 AM

Who cares! Why is this a big deal? So what! The guy is a big, black, gay football player. I guarantee you he is not the first one in the NFL!! He is the first one in the NFL to stand on a soap box and shout I'm gay is the only difference. This is NOT historic! This is NOT world changing! This IS A Back Page Story at Best! This story takes away the limelight from a lot of other young men that worked really hard and may I say were drafted way ahead of this young man in the NFL draft that deserve to be recognized for their talent over their sexual orientation! This in my opinion should be a Non- story!

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blo2thehead May 11 2014 at 6:50 AM

I hope he gets his arse kicked and the gerbil dies.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
rhill65 May 11 2014 at 6:54 AM

I'm sure this will be considered a victory for all the "Rump Rangers" out there! Yes he has the right to be considered and chosen to enter the NFL as I have a right to my feelings about " Gays"!

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3 replies
littlelayla4you May 11 2014 at 7:01 AM

I saw him kissing his little white boyfriend on tv. Excuse me, I have to go puke.

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3 replies
wnagle53 May 11 2014 at 7:05 AM

Ralph Russo (author of this article) are you gay ? You seem to have an agenda is your writting of this article. You have called out Jonathan Martin as gay (subliminaly). You make the statement "Pro sports have in many ways lagged behind the rest of society in acceptance". How accepted has the homosexual lifestyle become. I would say only in the liberal media, who then over saturates the public with the issue.

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1 reply
Donna wnagle53 May 11 2014 at 7:36 AM

Your comment loses all legitimacy when you use the phrase "homosexual lifestyle". It's not a chosen lifestyle. But hatred and bigotry ARE.

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1 reply
shishkkab0b Donna May 11 2014 at 9:24 AM

It is too a chosen lifestyle. You libtards simply found a so-called scientist or two that was able to do a "study" that you libtards agreed with. It's a lie. It's a chosen lifestyle, they realized they like other guys at a young age, that's all.

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thehammer321 May 11 2014 at 7:15 AM

no one will complain-in our godless country, FOR THE RECORD ONLY 3 PERCENT OF THE POPULATION IS GAY-THAT MEANS 97% ARE NOT-STOP STUFFING YOUR OPINIONS ON US.

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3 replies
shaunandpeanut May 11 2014 at 7:16 AM

Big day for Michael Sam. This shows that hard work and commitment pays off! Congrats to him and his family. Go Rams!

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2 replies
Donna shaunandpeanut May 11 2014 at 7:34 AM

You do realize that nice people aren't allowed in this forum?? lol Thank you for speaking with maturity.

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briabran shaunandpeanut May 11 2014 at 8:20 AM

Thank you! Big day because he was picked as a talented football player. Not because of anything else. Nothing to see here people. Recognize him and his talent as a football player.

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