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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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billykilmer017 May 11 2014 at 2:14 AM

I smell a rat. The Rams had two 1st round picks this year so they really didn't need this last pick. Roger Goodell and the NFL is fully aware of how the intolerant left loves to call anyone who does not goosestep with them a "bigot" so they instructed the Rams to draft this guy to avoid the inevitable firestorm if this guy was left undrafted. He wont make the team, he had a pathetic showing at the combine and this guy is simply to short too slow and too weak to play in the NFL.

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James M. Adams billykilmer017 May 11 2014 at 2:26 AM

The Redskins should have drafted him. They are in the cross hairs.

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rikrobo May 11 2014 at 2:53 AM

He's making a big splash because of his sexuality. I just read an article saying that several experts have rated him at skill levels lower than needed for professional football and the possibility of him actually making it in the NFL is slim. So who will he sue for discrimination when he gets dropped because he is no good?

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fisheadnj rikrobo May 11 2014 at 3:03 AM

Your right, this is about politics and making statements not sports. If the gay lobby was truely about "acceptance and equaliy" they would not support this blatant attempt at advertising this lifestyle. Or maybe they would. In any event I do not see this going well for him.

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cgo4855 May 11 2014 at 12:21 PM

Looks like some of you are showing your ignorance. What does his sexual preference have to do with football? Do they screw in the locker rooms or what? Lets all come into the 21st century.

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indianajons cgo4855 May 11 2014 at 12:23 PM

Jerry Sandusky anyone??? Does that answer your question???

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2 replies
indianajons indianajons May 11 2014 at 12:25 PM

Anybody gonna touché that for me?

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Susan indianajons May 11 2014 at 1:53 PM

Jerry Sandusky is a predator who sexually attacked innocent children .Michael Sam is a gay man who has consensual relationships with men his own age. There is a very big difference. If you can't see the difference, I feel sorry for you.

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mksrs May 11 2014 at 12:18 PM

He started packing his shiit for St Louise last night.

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indianajons mksrs May 11 2014 at 12:19 PM

And I heard he was packing your sh!!t last night....
Not sure what to make of all these rumors...

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mksrs indianajons May 11 2014 at 12:51 PM

Oh you fell off on the other side again did you?

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moodbluz May 11 2014 at 3:07 AM

Does peppie think our president is gay?

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Scott May 11 2014 at 3:09 AM

From what I've read about this young man, the ONLY reason he came out was to get the PR that ensued so as to improve his chances in the draft--which apparently were pretty much zero. He doesn't have the talent or skills needed to excel in the NFL. A great PR stunt by his Agent; But in the end, will it work? Or will he be just another washout hopeful?

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James M. Adams Scott May 11 2014 at 3:16 AM

He ran a 4.91 at the combine. There are linemen faster than that.

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ChasSwartz James M. Adams May 11 2014 at 4:44 AM

He ran a 4.71 on his pro day!

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James M. Adams May 11 2014 at 3:13 AM

The real groundbreaker was Ray Lewis. Anyone can be gay, but blading two rival gang members, getting away with it, and then winning a couple of Super Bowl rings is more impressive than being gay. Imagine the respect you have in the locker room after knifing a couple of guys to death.

He made it to the top: the ESPN crew. Ray, you are a REAL pioneer.

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moodbluz May 11 2014 at 3:15 AM

Peppie, I'm also afraid that you may be ignorant.

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moodbluz May 11 2014 at 3:16 AM

Terminal Illness

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1 reply
banngbanng moodbluz May 11 2014 at 3:52 AM

You have a terminal illness? I'm so sorry to hear that.

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James M. Adams banngbanng May 11 2014 at 5:07 AM

I think he was referring to George Michael

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banngbanng May 11 2014 at 3:31 AM

Thanks Sam... more publicity= one step closer to equal rights :)

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1 reply
James M. Adams banngbanng May 11 2014 at 3:35 AM

How will we know when equality has been achieved?

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