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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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WGuth93700 May 11 2014 at 4:01 AM

Congratulations Michael. Way to go, Bro!

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harry May 11 2014 at 6:17 AM

Does anyone remember the first straight guy chosen? Why the hell do we have to make such a big deal out of these things... the first Gay, the first Black, the first Woman. Who gives a ****... half the time, especially in politics... they are chosen for thier gender and color and not for character and experience. I hope someday the pendelum swings back to where we won't have a 'politically correct' press. It always sounds as if the gloat in putting down one race or gender over another.

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twalsh4440 May 11 2014 at 6:18 AM

Great for him BUT put the Private Life in PRIVATE like everyone else

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libsfault May 11 2014 at 6:21 AM

Why do gay people feel like they need to come out???? Are we suppose to except it more when they do or what, It's so freaking silly. As far as Sam's goes he just wanted to be the first. in the NFL. I'm sure there are gay players in the game now, they just don't feel like they have to advertise it.

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twalsh4440 May 11 2014 at 6:31 AM

AL Gore solcits DONATIONS from China sells his TV station to Algazeera TRAITOR TO US PUT THIS PIECE OF CRAP IN PRISON TRAITOR BASTARD

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1 reply
Donna twalsh4440 May 11 2014 at 7:43 AM

I think you posted on the wrong article. LOL And you can't spell. Just thought I'd throw that in.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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.

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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
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