Months after Michael Sam’s historic announcement transformed an under-the-radar mid-round prospect into one of the most scrutinized lower-tier NFL hopefuls of the past quarter-century, the St. Louis Rams pulled the trigger on him in the seventh round with the 249th pick.
Not only will the first openly-gay NFL draftee remain within the state boundaries that supported him throughout his college career, but the Rams are the same organization that broke the color barrier in 1946 by signing running back Kenny Washington.
Sam’s stock suffered after a horrendous showing at the NFL combine during which he ran a sluggish 4.91 40, benchpressed 225 pounds a sub-par 17 times and looked uncomfortable during linebacker drills after playing defensive end for the entirety of his Missouri career.
After receiving the call, Sam began sobbing uncontrollably, bringing the 2014 NFL Draft’s tear duct rainfall to record levels. However, the video of Sam subsequently kissing his boyfriend caused me to cringe a little. Not because all excessive public displays of affection are jarring to me or I hold a personal grudge against homosexuals or haven’t seen that before (living in New York City) but it was because I knew it would only increase the level of vitriol directed towards Sam by the traditional values pitchfork carrying mob.
Some presumably, long for the good old days when male athletes kissed their girlfriends or beards and trophies instead of their boyfriends.
I have a bigger problem with Michael Sam kissin his own reflection in this Cotton Bowl championship trophy. pic.twitter.com/3pLYHb5BYs— DJ Meta Dunson (@CerebralSportex) May 11, 2014
Others were just emotionally scarred.
I’m a cup half-full kind of optimist though. Those who hide in the ironic Age of Closet Homophobes were apoplectic at the sight of an NFL draftee kissing his boyfriend on national television, but completely ignored the fact that it was an interracial couple. I also don't remember a single person smacking their gums about Sam pullin' a Caucasian partner over an African-American. That’s called progress America.