first openly-gay NFL player, cut by St. Louis Rams (homosexuality)
Michael Sam, first openly-gay NFL player, cut by St. Louis Rams
By Will Femia
Michael Sam, the first openly-gay football player drafted by the National Football League, was cut from the St. Louis Rams on Saturday afternoon. The news comes as a major disappointment to Sam’s many fans (according to ESPN, his was the seventh-best selling jersey on the league’s online store from April 1 through July 31), who had hoped he would break the league’s significant cultural barrier to become the first openly-gay player.
The announcement that the final roster did not include Sam had nothing to do with his sexuality, said coach Jeff Fisher, but the complexities of an already very competitive process and the particular needs of the Rams team. Fisher was explicit in stating that Sam was never a distraction to the team and complimented his “effort plays,” skills and “his motor.”
Sam’s preseason stats included 11 tackles and three sacks, as well as a team-leading six tackles in Thursday’s final preseason game. But in the end, it was Sam’s chief rival, undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks, who beat out Sam for a spot on the league-mandated 53-man roster. “Ethan was making a lot of plays every time I looked,” Fisher remarked in a press conference after Thursday’s game.
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