Michael Sam Update: Off to Texas


"Sir, that's not a football you're holding. No, I will not go long!"
Credit: Marcus Qwertyus

After getting dropped from the St. Louis Rams and not getting picked up for any other teams' rosters, circumstances were looking a little rough for openly gay National Football League rookie Michael Sam. I wrote on Monday that it looked like he might not end up as the first out player to take to the field once the season began, though his future was still uncertain.

Today, his fortunes are getting a small boost with an opportunity to make the Dallas Cowboys' practice team. According to ESPN, he will be taking a physical, and if he passes, he will be joining their practice squad. ESPN says the Cowboys would also have to cut somebody from the squad to bring him on.

Whether he eventually gets elevated to the roster and actually take to the field of a game, or even lasts on the practice squad, is a whole other question. For those who want to read the technical analysis of how Sam does and doesn't fit in NFL play with only minor emphasis on Sam's pioneering identity, ESPN's Kevin Seifert has some explanations here.


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  1. Are they dragging him to Texas behind a pickup truck?

    /sorry, too soon

    1. I laughed, but I don’t feel good about it.

    2. Ignorant and stupid comment. He played openly for Missouri and is from Texas.

      The South ain’t as anti-gay as portrayed.

      1. Lighten up, Francis

      2. Lyle,

        This is what he is referring to:….._Byrd,_Jr.

        1. precisely – hence my apology for “too soon” – but fuck Lyle if he can’t appreciate a tasteless joke

          1. Tasteless jokes are the best kind. Lyle is just a humorless dick.

  2. At a previous job I’m pretty sure we at one point hired our first openly gay accounting clerk, but nobody really made a big deal about it and he just did his job.

    1. Did he stand to make millions of dollars a year in a high-profile entertainment industry?

      1. Hmmm…I don’t know. Is it normal for players on an NFL practice squad to transition to the entertainment industry?

        1. It isn’t common for them to make millions of dollars.

          1. The practice squad is the place to be anyway.

            $6,300/week is $107,100 for 17 weeks worth of “work.” And years from now you won’t be brain dead.

            1. As a very casual NFL fan I’m not even really sure what the practice squad is. Are they just guys who are paid to be on a team but not expected to play in games?

              1. Basically, they practice with the team and get paid for it, but will never actually play in a game unless they are added to the 53 man roster.

              2. The practice squad is eight players that participate in team practices but aren’t eligible to play in the actual games. They’re there so the coaches can develop them in their team’s system and, if they do start to pan out, promote them directly to the main roster without any other teams potentially poaching them first.

                1. 10 players. Other than that, mostly correct. Except you only get the right of first refusal if someone else tries to sign someone from your practice squad.

        2. When Michal Sam was drafted by the Rams he was on a potential path to earn millions as a player on a team in the NFL, which is an entertainment industry.

          That’s how he came to people’s attention, and that’s what distinguishes him from your accountant.

          1. But he’s not good enough to make millions in the NFL. That seems to be the consensus, and at the end of the day no team is going to throw good money after bad just for a little publicity. It sounds like he might make a couple hundred thousand playing football, and good for him, but where are all these millions going to come from?

            1. I get that you’re being deliberately obtuse to make some stupid point about identity politics. But surely you can understand why some people would take an interest in his career even if you don’t.

            2. But he’s not good enough to make millions in the NFL.

              You don’t know that yet, Botard’s cousin. But keep arguing, since that’s what you’re really here for.

            3. He probably is good enough to make millions in the NFL. Most teams just don’t want the extra distractions after the path of destruction wrought through the league by Tim Tebow.

  3. So, he’s not going to take up the WWE’s offer?

  4. Didn’t they make a movie about this? Oh wait, that was the other kind of cowboy, my bad.

  5. Some hard-hitting reporting there, Reason.

  6. ESPN says the Cowboys would also have to cut somebody from the squad to bring him on

    See, this is why we must have affirmative action in football. Obviously, the problem with the NFL is there are not enough openly gay players.

    1. Black and gay. How much more oppressed can you get? Lucky. /proggie

      1. Black, transgendered, crippled up disabled handicapable, retarded mentally challenged cognitively differentiated, undocumented, deep-dish-artisanal ghey.

        That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

        1. They ought to give that man a medal.

    2. Where are all the Asians!?

      1. Light out!

      2. Usually at Defensive Tackle. Where nobody pays attention.

      3. Dat Nguyen was pretty good.

  7. His size/speed combo isn’t great for DE or OLB and that hinders his opportunity to some degree. So he went from one team where he could have been a fit (4-3, well-respected, stable coach) but they were stacked at DE to a team using him for publicity. He doesn’t really fit the Cowboys’ scheme (3-4) and their coach is awful, and the team is a media circus every day without Sam. o this is just more of that since ESPN will be all over it making it a bigger story than it needs to be. The only benefit to him going to Dallas is that they have the worst defense in the league so maybe he gets an opportunity to be elevated to the roster and contribute.

    The difference with Jackie Robinson couldn’t be more striking. He was a legitimately fantastic baseball player and HOF worthy regardless of race or historical impact. Sam’s physical limitations will need to be overcome first. And the constant 2014 sports media probably makes it worse as Eric Wood said. “Blame ESPN because no one wants the distraction.”

    1. The Cowboys switched back to a 4-3 last year with ol Monte.

      1. And they have the worst defense in the NFL. They should be bringing in everyone to try out.

    2. He was a legitimately fantastic baseball player and HOF worthy regardless of race or historical impact.

      Which is why he was selected to be the first black player in MLB, right? It would be certainly be easier if there were gay football leagues stocked with great talent. Would the negro leagues have existed had black players been easily able to disguise themselves as white? Probably not.

  8. You know who else moved from one state to another to carry out his life’s work…

    1. Brigham Young?

      1. “Sleeping with underage girls isn’t work if you’re doin’ it right.”

        -Brigham Young

        1. Word, brothuh!


          1. I LOL’ed.
            And was promptly beheaded.

            /Zombie Jimbo’s disembodied head

    2. Karl August von Hardenberg

    3. Roger Williams?

    4. Ima just jump in here with Che Guevara

      1. I was going to use that. But I’ll settle with Vladimir Lenin and his brother John.

        1. And Karl Marx and his brothers Groucho, Zeppo, Chico and Harpo.

            1. “So Trotsky, Czar Nicholas and Franz Ferdinand go to the bar….”

    5. Gavrilo Princip?

    6. What, no love for Davey Crocket?

      1. Dyin’s no way to make a livin’, son.

    7. PS Juan Pablo Montoya also says hello

    8. Hillary Clinton?

      1. nice -yes

    9. Barack Obama. +1 to myself

      1. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for! And when I say “we”, I mean “Me, Barack Hussein Obama!

        Release the doves….”

    10. Hillary Clinton?

  9. And the Rams are taking shit for not keeping him, just because of stupid identity politics. I mean, they drafted the guy, but that’s not good enough.

  10. Seriously, the Cowboys LBs are so bad, Sam will be a step up, and most of Dallas is probably happy to have him. I’ll check this afternoon when I get there. Also, you notice that so far people from Missouri and Texas don’t give a shit about gay, they just want to know if they boy can play football.

    1. “Boy”?

      Fuckin’ racist

    2. the Cowboys LBs are so bad, Sam will be a step up

      And that’s why I’m glad he’s in Dallas instead of someplace where he might get a shot at a DL job. First openly gay player, whatever, I just want to see a guy named Mike Sam play weakside linebacker.

      1. And he could gay-marry a dude surnamed Will.

  11. I realize this is a silly question, but how many teams in the NFL have a defensive end on their roster who is *worse* than Michael Sam?

    1. Does Nicole play D End?

      1. If there was ever a time for a tasteless joke…

    2. The Cowboys, for one.

      1. Beat me to it.

        Our DL last year was SHIT.

  12. As a very casual NFL fan I’m not even really sure what the practice squad is. Are they just guys who are paid to be on a team but not expected to play in games?

    I stopped paying attention a long time ago, but I suspect they are expected to run the upcoming opponents’ offensive and defensive “look” for the guys who will play the game. That means they need to be smart, as well as physically capable. i have no idea if Sam is that kind of player.

  13. I like Siefert. He was a local reporter here in Minneapolis before moving on up. I also think that he is the voice of Carl Gerbschmidt

    Carl is the only reason I listen to the local evening sports talk here. He is the super fan for the Packers who calls in to torment Vikings fans. His call to the station after Favre joined the Purple is classic

  14. The thing that really hurts Sam is that he’s not a special-teams ace. Marginal players on the fringe who can shine on specials have a big edge in snagging those last few roster spots over guys who don’t provide that kind of value at 50-53 on the roster.

    1. That and he is a 4-3 defensive end. Fewer and fewer teams play the 4-3 these days. He is really a tweener. He is not big enough to bull rush tackles but not athletic enough to drop into coverage or speed rush. He is a classic example of a very good college player whose skills won’t translate very well to the NFL.

      1. He was fast enough to sack Johnny Football twice in a half a game.

  15. I keep forgetting why I should care about a rookie DE who isn’t good enough to be an NFL starter.

  16. The media is not doing Sam any favors. NFL teams hate distractions and hate any sort of publicity for anything not having to do with what happens on the field. All covering Sam so much is doing is making him less attractive to NFL teams. This wouldn’t matter if he were a real deal prospect rather than a marginal one. Jedeveon Clowny could wear a dress ot meetings and have his own reality show and NFL teams would find a way to deal with it. But there are a lot of people out there with similar talant to Sam. He is a border line player. All covering this story so much is doing is giving teams a reason to break the tie against him in the name of avoiding a distraction.

    1. Except the Cowboys. Jerry loves any and all distractions from how shitty the Cowboys are doing.

      And I say this as a *gasp* Cowboys fan.

      1. Jerry is a carnival barker. My guess is that Gadell called the owners and said “okay, which one of you guys is going to sign this guy so I don’t have to listen to the PC police on ESPN whine about it?” and of course Jerry, always looking for an angle and a way to stay in the papers said yes.

        1. “Sign Sam and I’ll overlook your contact with AP.”

          1. Overpaying for AP after he is past his prime would be such a Jerry move.

        2. He’s a damn good barker, I will give him that.

          1. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1997 and are still the most valuable professional sports franchise in the world. That is pretty impressive when you think about it. The point of running a business is to make money. And Jones, love him or hate him, does that better than any other NFL owner.

            1. More valuable than Man U? I doubt that, even though American football should be worth more, even though I’m not a soccer-hater.

            2. are still the most valuable professional sports franchise in the world

              Number 5 actually.

              Real Madrid is #1
              Manchester United
              NY Yankees

            3. Dallas 34, Philadelphia 13
              January 9, 2009

          2. Think about it. The New York Giants are the flagship franchise for the country’s largest media market and have won two Super Bowls since the last time Dallas won a playoff game. And yet, the Cowboys are the more valuable franchise. Jones bought the Cowboys for a hundred and forty million dollars in 1988. Twenty six years later they are worth 2.1 billion dollars.

            Jerry is one hell of a carnival barker.

            1. I didn’t realize he bought them for so little. That’s damn impressive.

            2. The f*cking LA CLippers are worth the same as the Cowboys, and their owner was about as crappy a “barker” as you’ll find.

  17. Jerry Jones has been quite open about wanting “some gloryhole”.

  18. My care-meter is still not registering.

    Is the H&R sports-section limited entirely to gay football-failures and crony-stadium financing? Can we not mix it up a little? What about gay crony franchise financiers?

    1. You’ve got to care. Miri, I’m going to tell you something. You, your friends, all the Onlies are going to get the disease unless we succeed in what we’re doing. You’ve seen your friends get it.

      1. How about covering something new for a change?

        Like how Some People don’t like Tennis Players who Make Noise?

        Yet = *Still no timetable to resolve “grunting issue”*

        its an issue that needs ‘resolving’, you see…

        witness the progressive-playbook in action

        ” in 2012, the WTA announced that along with other governing bodies of the sport, it was launching an initiative — with no timetable — to begin educating budding players in breathing techniques[RE-EDUCATION!] to lower the volume and to “eventually” adopt a rule against noises deemed “too loud.”

        …Bollettieri Academy had begun teaching young players that excessive grunting is poor sportsmanship and a poor breathing technique[EVEN IF YOU WIN!].

        …Allaster said two years ago she expected the tour to eventually provide chair umpires with “noise meters”[SCIENCE!] to assess penalties for “excessive grunting.” In Monday’s statement, the WTA said it has “begun scientific research on sound levels” in different environments and that the “development and implementation of an objective rule change is in discussion as we gather additional information.”[BULLSHIT!]”

        sadly, they conclude: tennis players *still breathe*.

        1. The grunters have rights, too, you know.

          1. Well, uhm, people have the ‘right’ not to have to listen to unpleasant breathing!! Also, your position is insensitive and unrealistic and probably racist.

            1. I suppose you’re opposed to grunt marriage, too.

              1. For the record I’ve been down with grunting since before it was cool. However, Tennis involves rich white people, and we all know how sensitive they are.

                1. Yeah, those people. Harumph.

          2. Not a tennis fan, so I’ll ask–is this “grunting” the same technique that martial artists are taught to use to increase the power of the blow as it is delivered? Or is somehow panting too loudly as you run your legs off now a problem? Is it supposed to be an intimidation technique or something? Very confused about this.

            Not that being confused isn’t my normal condition.

            1. “mousefeathers|9.3.14 @ 2:39PM|#

              -is this “grunting” the same technique that martial artists are taught to use to increase the power of the blow as it is delivered? Or is somehow panting too loudly as you run your legs off now a problem? Is it supposed to be an intimidation technique or something?”

              – yes
              – no
              – yes

              according to this

              “..Dr. Philip Muskin, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University (and a tennis enthusiast), believes that grunting could also improve one’s psychological focus. He likens the tennis grunt to karate’s “kiai” (or, more colloquially, “hi-yah!”) noise. “Part of the training in karate is, at the moment of impact, you let out a cry. You’re focusing all your energy into that strike, and it starts at your toes. Well, tennis starts at your toes, too.”


              “Another theory is that grunting is a distraction technique adopted to annoy the opponent, or mask the noise of the ball hitting the racket, which can disorient an opponent. New, early research ? seemingly the only research done on tennis grunting ? suggests that grunting is, in fact, an effective form of distraction”

              The sciences also note = Men ‘grunt’ just as much: its just not as ‘annoying’ as when women yell, according to polls.

              1. Thank you. I figure that anyone who is distracted by loud grunting needs to work harder on game focus. Grunt away, ladies and gentlemen!

        2. The grunting has made women’s tennis unwatchable. It is costing the sport millions because of lower ratings.

          Yeah, they need to do something about it.

          1. “Do something”.

            Right. That should work

          2. BTW, I did a little poking around, and absolutely no one believes ‘grunting’ has any effect on ratings – particularly as the most notable ‘grunters’ tend to be either smoking hot, or superstars.

            If you have a shred of evidence to that effect, please share.

  19. I love how people act like this dude was a top-round draft pick who is somehow getting shafted due to homophobia.

    He was drafted late, no one really wanted him and he wasn’t good enough to make an NFL roster. The end. If he wasn’t a member of some group the media wants to foist upon everyone, no one would even bat an eye about him not making ANY roster.

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