Michael Sam, Football’s First Out player, Drafted to St. Louis Rams
With the 249th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the St. Louis Rams selected Michael Sam, making him the first openly gay player in NFL history. This happened just a few days after Sam learned he’ll be receiving the Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPYs this summer. Sam’s reaction to getting drafted was absolutely adorable.
Sam came out in February and was immediately met with support from all corners of the league. The reaction to his drafting wasn’t much different. Everyone from new teammates to Rams legends wasted no time welcoming him.
— J.Jenkz (@JjenkzLockdown) May 10, 2014
— Eric Dickerson (@EricDickerson) May 10, 2014
After playing at The University of Missouri in college, he’ll be staying close to home with the Rams. The guys who made the decision to bring Sam to St. Louis were head coach Jeff Fisher and general manager Les Snead, both of whom deserve credit for helping break the barrier. In an interview with NFL Network after the pick, Sam’s sexuality wasn’t even worth mentioning by Fisher.
“We drafted a good football player. I’m excited to get him on the practice field and get him going,” said Fisher.
In a press call after the draft, Sam already sounded like he had a chip on his shoulder from being taken so late.
“I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I’m going to sack their quarterback,” said Sam.
Before coming out, Sam was projected to go a bit earlier in the draft than he did. He’s a bit undersized for his position and his combine performance showed that, and theres no doubt some unstable franchises were weary about bringing him in. Statitcian Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com said Sam had about a 50-50 shot of getting drafted.
“Players projected to be chosen late in the draft are hard to differentiate from one another. You can think of NFL prospects as representing the tail end of a bell curve. At the extreme end of the tail are a small number of potential franchise talents, such as Andrew Luck and Bo Jackson. The curve gets denser and denser with players the farther down the draft board you go, however. Players who are projected as sixth-round picks often fall out of the draft entirely,” wrote Silver.
But Fisher and Snead have over four decades of NFL experience between them, and the Rams are a team trending upward. They were the best in the league at sacking the quarterback last season, so it’ll be tough for Sam to walk in and start right away. Either way, I’d be he’ll see the field, and for now, Michael Sam looks elated.
Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I’m using every once of this to achieve greatness!! pic.twitter.com/QESdOJVzsw
— Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) May 10, 2014
I’m a spring intern at RVA Mag and GayRVA. I recently got my degree in journalism from Virginia Tech, where I also wrote for the Collegiate Times newspaper. I spent the first half of my life as an impatient New Yorker, but I grew up here in Richmond, buying skateboards from Dominion, seeing shows at Alley Katz, and watching VCU Rams basketball games. I like everything bagels, wasting my money on clothes I don’t need, moombahton music, and cycling. I probably fell down putting on my pants this morning.
“I cannot wait to get back on the field and bring a Grey Cup to #Montreal!”May 22, 2015
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