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Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, was not claimed by any NFL team after he was cut from the St. Louis Rams Saturday.

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, was not claimed by any NFL team after he was cut from the St. Louis Rams Saturday.
Getty Images / Marc Serota

Once the Rams dropped Sam from their final roster, he was on “waivers,” meaning that other NFL teams had until noon today to take him. Based on last year’s win-loss record, the worst team in the league had the first chance to pick him up, and the best team had the last chance.

Still, Sam can sign to the practice squad for any NFL team — and the Rams are expected to sign him to their 10-man practice unit, according to league sources cited by ESPN.

Michael Sam has not been told of any teams that claimed him on waivers. Appears he went unclaimed. Now free to sign with a practice squad.

Update - Sep. 1, 4:08 p.m., ET: Michael Sam is not a part of the St. Louis Rams’ 10-player practice squad. The club made an announcement this afternoon, naming their practice squad roster. According to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network, the Montreal Alouettes are interested in signing Sam, potentially sending him to the Canadian Football League.

By the way, the @MTLAlouettes of the #CFL own the rights to DE Michael Sam. They have reached out to him, no word yet though.

We will continue to update this post as the situation develops.

Source: Logan Rhoades for Buzzfeed Sports


Michael Sam’s chances of playing in the NFL got worse today as every team let the window close on a chance to pick him up, reportsESPN.

The Rams cut the out defensive end from its roster on Saturday in favor of another rookie, Ethan Westbrooks, who had been undrafted. After putting Sam on waiver, teams had 24 hours to sign him, but none did. 

Now ESPN reports that Sam must focus on making a practice squad. Even there, the Rams won’t say if they will take Sam.

Sam reacted to Saturday’s news in a statement shared on social media, seeming hopeful about eventually making a team. 

"The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known," he said. "The journey continues."

Whether Sam deserved a spot on the Rams or another NFL team is hotly debated. Outsports described the Rams’ decision as solely based on which positions were available but said homophobia did “play a role” in his being passed over by the other 31 teams.

"Sam has proven he can play in the NFL," wrote the site’s co-founders, Jim Buzinski and Cyd Zeigler, in a joint editorial. “Only a couple other players have more sacks this preseason than his three. In a league that places a high value on pass rushers, and continues to develop rules that help passing offenses, guys like Sam are coveted. Sacks aside, he’s played well or very well in each of his three preseason games.”

Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy made headlines for saying in Juy that he wouldn’t have taken Sam if he still led a team. Dungy said Sam “should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.”

Sam’s preseason has obviously not been devoid of homophobia. In one of the clearest incidents, happening in the week before Sam was cut, ESPN reported on whether fellow Rams players were showering with their openly gay teammate. The network apologized afterward and some on the team publicly voiced disappointment with the coverage, which included anonymous worries by Rams players about showering together. 

When Sam was drafted at number 249 of 256 players, the first uproar started because he kissed his boyfriend to celebrate while ESPN was broadcasting live. An online kiss-in started over the aggressively homophobic reaction that the kiss sparked across social media.

Almost immediately, Sam’s jersey for the Rams was a top-seller, showing his huge support. Even One Direction member Harry Styles sported a jersey during a concert in St. Louis. It was ranked second among rookies in sales only to star Johnny Manziel — who Sam sacked during the preseason. And Outmagazine put Sam on the cover of its sports issue.

Sam has been the target of the usual antigay voices. When the antigay Westboro Church picketed a basketball game that Sam was attending, thousands of supporters lined up outside to counter. Peter LaBarbera, president of the antigay organization Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, wrote an open letter encouraging Sam to get so-called reparative therapy and warned against his influence on black youth. A right-wing lobbyist named Jack Burkman pushed for national legislation that would ban any professional sports team from employing a player who “has openly declared himself to be a homosexual.” 

But even with all of that, Rams coach Jeff Fisher told reporters yet again on Saturday, according to The New York Times, that Sam wasn’t a distraction. “He’s not about drawing attention to himself,” he said. “He kept his head down and worked and you can’t ask anything more out of any player for that matter.”



The Washington Post’s editorial board will quit using the name of Washington’s professional football team, it announced in an editorial Friday afternoon.

The editorial board has called for a name change since as far back as 1992, a fact it notes in the editorial explaining its decision today:

“THIS PAGE has for many years urged the local football team to change its name. The term ‘Redskins,’ we wrote in 1992, ‘is really pretty offensive.’ The team owner then, Jack Kent Cooke, disagreed, and the owner now, Daniel M. Snyder, disagrees, too. But the matter seems clearer to us now than ever, and while we wait for the National Football League to catch up with thoughtful opinion and common decency, we have decided that, except when it is essential for clarity or effect, we will no longer use the slur ourselves. That’s the standard we apply to all offensive vocabulary, and the team name unquestionably offends not only many Native Americans but many other Americans, too,” the editorial board wrote, adding that “we’ll do our best not to contribute to the disrespect.”

The editorial board’s decision will not affect the paper’s news or sports reporters and readers can still use the name in letters to the editor, the editorial said.

Still, the editorial board is adding itself to a growing list of outlets and journalists choosing to avoid the name. Other publications, like the San Francisco Chronicle, Kansas City Star, The Oregonian, Slate, and the Washington City Paper, avoid the name in both news and opinion writing. Columnists at outlets like USA Today and the Buffalo News, meanwhile, have made individual decisions to avoid it. CBS Sports’ Sean McManus said last month that he would give his broadcasters the option to avoid the name during NFL games this season, and CBS analyst Phil Simms and NBC’s Tony Dungy have both said they plan to quit using the name on air.

Source: Travis Waldron for ThinkProgress Sports


When NFL referees visit the St. Louis Rams on as part of a training camp swing this week, players will be shown a 12-minute video that stresses a"zero tolerance" policy for “players’ on-field use of racial slurs or abusive language relating to sexual orientation.”

The new emphasis takes on a new meaning with Michael Sam in training camp for the Rams, the first openly gay player in league history. The Washington Post’s Mark Maske obtained the video and provided this transcript:

"As the most visible and influential sports entity, we have an obligation to set the standard for sportsmanship," a narrator says during the NFL’s officiating video. "The use of abusive, threatening or insulting language directed at opponents, teammates, game officials or representatives of the league is covered under unsportsmanlike conduct in the playing rules. This includes racial slurs, comments regarding sexual orientation or other verbal abuse. Actions such as these will result in 15-yard penalties and potential discipline. Coaches, game officials and other league personnel will be held to the same high standard."

In addition to the officials visit, the Rams are also having the team attend a meeting on workplace conduct, Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Linebacker James Laurinaitis said he’s sure some players will complain about having to sit through another meeting. 

"But I don’t think it ever hurts to just talk about general respect for other people and other players," Laurinaitis said. "Obviously with having Michael (Sam) in the locker room, there’s a need to talk about just general respect for people. … There’s not a problem in our locker room. However, it doesn’t hurt to go around and remind people about it. And just be sensitive to it. Everyone deserves to be treated as a human being and with respect."

The Rams are also among a growing trend in NFL teams not submitting their rookies to hazing, long a tradition. As Eagles coach Chip Kelly said last year: “Everybody is a professional, everyone is on the same team. We don’t have a rookie show, we don’t do those things. We’re all on the same side.”


h/t: Travis Waldron at Think Progress Sports


While the NFL was getting reamed for the weak punishment it handed down to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for allegedly beating his then-fiancée unconscious — a two-game suspension, really? — baseball’s Minnesota Twins dealt with a similar issue in a way that should make its fans proud.

In a month’s time, four-time All-Star and Twins legend Chuck Knoblauch was scheduled to be inducted in the club’s Hall of Fame prior to a game at Target Field. But on Thursday, the organization announced it was canceling the event.

That’s because the previous night Knoblauch had been arrested for allegedly attacking his ex-wife by throwing her head into the wall and hitting her in the arm and chest.

The reason for the former athlete’s anger? His ex-wife told police that he was upset that she had not been sleeping in the same bedroom as their child.

This isn’t the first accusation of domestic abuse levied against Knoblauch. He had previously been sentenced to a year of probation for abusing his previous wife in 2010.

At first glance, one might think that by canceling the Hall of Fame ceremony the Twins were just recognizing the poor timing of the event and would instead wait to induct Knoblauch once the uproar had died down.

That doesn’t appear to be the case.

"There are no plans to reschedule," Twins President Dave St. Peter said on Thursday.

St. Peter wouldn’t rule out Knoblauch ever being inducted: “Never is a strong word,” he allowed. Still, he explained that the club has no intention of honoring the former second baseman.

The prior generation of baseball stars (including longtime Knoblauch teammate Kirby Puckett) may have been able to largely get away with domestic abuse allegations, just like Rice escaped with a slap on the wrist this week.

Yet that’s not the case for Knoblauch. And rightly so.

Source: R.J. Rico for Mic


ESPN2 host Keith Olbermann ripped former NFL coach and current NBC sports commentator Tony Dungy for anti-gay comments Dungy made about football player Michael Sam.

Dungy, an avowed evangelical Christian, recently told the Tampa Tribune that he would not have drafted Sam, the first openly gay football player in NFL history, because he “wouldn’t want to deal with” the media attention that surrounds trailblazing, barrier-breaking athletes like him.

The Washington Post's Cindy Boren rightly points out the stunning hypocrisy in Dungy’s sudden concern about “distractions,” since Dungy was the man who helped dog-fighting barbarian Michael Vick rebuild his career and rehabilitate his image.

In a segment on his show yesterday, Olbermann called Dungy out for his hypocritical and homophobic double standards, and named Dungy the “Worst Person in the Sports World.”

From the 07.21.2014 edition of Premiere Radio Networks’ The Rush Limbaugh Show

STFU, Tony Dungy! 

h/t: Michael David Smith at


Michael Sam, the first out gay NFL player, received the Arthur Ashe Award for courage at the ESPY Awards on Wednesday night. He received a standing ovation as he took the stage and delivered this powerful acceptance speech while fighting back tears:

“To anyone out there, especially young people feeling like they don’t fit in, and would never be accepted, please know this, great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself,” he said.

Source: Michael Rusch for Buzzfeed

NOTE: On the term “Profiles in Cowardice” in the headline, it refers to the Vikings’ actions related to the independent review on Chris Kluwe. 

h/t: Travis Waldron at Think Progress Sports

The offending 1992 ad in question:

h/t: Isaac Saul at HuffPost Women

Porno Pete, I hope someone puts a fucking ballgag over your mouth! 

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW