As the NFL Draft approached, there was a lot of buzz about what would happen with Michael Sam, who was going to be the first openly gay active NFL player. The Missouri defensive end had to wait until the seventh and final round to be selected by the St. Louis Rams. That choice will allow Sam to stay in the state of Missouri but it is also very important to note that it was about the talent that got him drafted and not the expected media attention.
The impact of the selection is very important because it proves that there are no boundaries that should stop a player from being able to play in the NFL. It isn’t about sexual orientation; it is about the player and what they can do on the field. Sam won’t be expected to start in St. Louis as the team already has two great defensive ends in Chris Long and Robert Quinn but he is going to be looking to get a spot on the roster as a reserve. Here is a look at Sam in action while playing for the Tigers over the past couple seasons.
There are likely plenty of other players out there who are gay who don’t want to have it be public because of what it could do for their career. This is a discussion that likely won’t be happening 15 or 20 years from now since it is likely to be more accepted by them but for the time being, announcements like what Sam made are going to be major news.
Will Sam stick on the roster with the Rams? It’s only a matter of time before that is known but there is one thing for sure. The Rams saw enough in Sam to make him a seventh-round draft pick of theirs. That would not have happened if he didn’t have the ability to play at a high level at the professional level. St. Louis is going to be the center of a lot of media attention this summer when training camp gets underway. It’s important for the team to make sure that the attention stays on the field and not what is going on behind the scenes.