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What You Need to Know About Michael Sam


RUSH:  So I checked the e-mail in the break, and there's, surprisingly (I say surprisingly), a number of e-mails asking, "Why aren't you talking about Michael Sam being picked by the St. Louis Rams?" Look, folks. (sigh) The reason is that none of it is surprising.  If you go back and ratchet up your memory of last week, I told you I was very, very confident that he was gonna be drafted. 

In fact, I think I said there was no way he wasn't going to be drafted.  It was a fait accompli.  None of what has happened in that storyline has surprised me at all.  The kiss doesn't surprise me. The coverage of the kiss, the coverage of the event, none of it surprises me.  It was all very predictable.  Now, Sam is saying that he thinks he should have been picked in the second or third rounds. 

But there's not a scout out there who has talked about it who has rated him that high.  Most of the scouts said he's not draftable; he's gonna have to be signed as a free agent.  In fact, it's been amazing. All of these scouts who have been quoted anonymously have been really out front saying, "The guy can't play at the NFL level."  That has surprised me. How many scouts...?

Now, they haven't been named and the media reporters have respected their anonymity, but there has been a striking number of people, scouts, who say he's a "tweener" in terms of weight and size for the positions that he plays, and they just don't think he can play.  Others have differing opinions and say, "Well, you know, that's stats from the [NFL Scouting] Combine. This guy was an All-American, SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Mizzou.

"He can play. He's got a big heart and a big desire. You wait. He'll show 'em."  The only thing you have to know about this is in TIME Magazine, and it is by Cyd Zeigler. C-y-d is how he spells it, so I don't know how he pronounces it.  Cyd Zeigler, TIME Magazine.  Now, TIME presents this piece as though he's a reporter, but he's not.  He is a PR flack who handled Michael Sam's PR. 

So one of Michael Sam's PR team members has written a piece TIME Magazine.  "Michael Sam Risked Everything and We All Won -- Michael risked his career. Today, everyone won. ... This wasn’t just a football decision. It was history in the making. ... Michael’s character, work ethic, and skill shined through. He is now the first openly gay active athlete in our nation’s bellwether of masculinity."

That's all you have to know about what this really is, but I will continue.

"The LGBT community won, too. Many gay people were losing faith in the NFL today, as the number of selections remaining dwindled..." This was written on Saturday.  So there were a lot of gay people on Saturday, as the final picks were made, waiting. Michael Sam was not named 'til the seventh to the last pick.  This guy says, "Many gay people were losing faith in the NFL" on Saturday and preparing to disavow it and move over to the NBA where there's a gay player. 

"Some gay people tweeted that they would be switching interests to the NBA, where openly gay Jason Collins was welcomed by the Brooklyn Nets. Suddenly, with the 249th pick in the draft, an openly gay player was welcomed with open arms by a team in the Heartland. The advancement of gay rights, including the issuing of same-sex marriage licenses in neighboring Arkansas today," again, this is last Saturday, "continues."

Remember all this the next time you hear that we have to keep politics out of sports. It goes on to talk about the fact that "[t]he bastion of masculinity in our culture just welcomed the kind of person many people believe is the antithesis of masculinity," and "Cyd Zeigler is co-founder and editor of Outsports.com and helped break the Michael Sam story earlier this year."

He's being way too modest there.  The guy is on Michael Sam's PR team, which is okay.  I don't have a problem with it at all, not a problem. I hope everybody hears me.  I have not a problem whatsoever with this.  The truth is that the reason I haven't discussed this 'cause none of it's surprising to me.  


RUSH:  USA Today says that the St. Louis Rams drafting Michael Sam could impact the law in Missouri.  It's raised, they say, "some deeper issues about openly gay athletes in sports and in the workplace in general. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) posted on Twitter: 'Michael Sam could still be fired for just being gay according to MO law. Let's fix that in Jeffcity.'" That's the tweet.  That's the state capital. 

"The board president of the LGBT Community Center of Metropolitan St. Louis, Dara Strickland, is also a family law attorney. She says an individual can be refused employment because of their sexual orientation under current state law. 'You can apply for a job in Missouri at least, and there's no protection for being asked, "By the way, are you gay?" and being explicitly told, "You know, we don't hire gay people." You can be fired for being gay, lesbian or transgender,' she said.  The Missouri Nondiscrimination Act or MONA would extend the existing Missouri Human Rights Statute to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected categories."

So, according to Claire McCaskill, the Rams could still fire Michael Sam, i.e., cut him, just for being gay.  She says that's the law in Missouri, and since he's been chosen, we can't allow that to happen. We've got to change the law.  So that law will be changed.  And Michael Sam's not gonna be cut.  That's my next prediction.  By the way, Obama congratulated Michael Sam from the White House, which surprises me.  (interruption)  What?  It surprises me deeply that Obama would congratulate Michael Sam.  Let me tell you why in a minute. 

"President Obama congratulated Michael Sam today --" this, again, from a couple days ago -- "-- after he made history as the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL when he was picked by the St. Louis Rams, the White House said. 'The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey.'"

Now, the reason that I'm surprised is that Obama has said that if he had a son, he wouldn't let him play football, 'cause it's just too dangerous out there on the field.  It's too risky.  It's too rough.  And he wouldn't let his son play football.  I would think he would be worried about Michael Sam, but apparently the cause overrides any concerns. (interruption)  Well, he called Jason Collins.  He didn't call any of the other players that were drafted and have been so honored.  It's an ABC News story and it's filled with tsk-tsk-tsk over the fact that Michael Sam was not picked until the seventh round. "And, for what was likely the first time, ESPN video featured a happy Sam kissing his boyfriend after getting the call from Rams coach Jeff Fisher."

Now, last week some NFL insiders predicted to ABC that teams would be reluctant to draft Michael Sam because of potential media attention given his sexual preference.  And that's the media circus.  What that means is a lot of teams just wouldn't want the media circus.  Here's the thing.  This is why I was confident that Sam was gonna be picked.  Well, no, I'm not gonna go there.  But look, see, if he wasn't drafted, then the league as a whole would be targeted by the media as backwards and perhaps in collusion and racist and bigoted and sexist and homophobic and backwards and all those things, if he hadn't been picked.  But that would have been okay 'cause it's not a single person that would have been accused.  The league would have taken the hit. 

But now that the Rams have chosen, now that the Rams have picked him, now the league, they no longer have a burden.  Well, not totally, but the Rams now pick up the lion's share of the burden for what happens next or in the future.  This is why I don't think he's gonna get cut.  I think he'll play and play and play in the preseason, and if he doesn't get a roster spot he'll get the practice squad. Now, that would involve being cut and re-signed to the practice squad.  The media would be told that that's the plan. 

But the Rams are well stocked at defensive end and outside linebacker.  Those are his positions.  They're well stocked.  I mean, they're three and four deep already with people who can and are playing.  You couple that with the scouts' reports, who've also said that he's not particularly good at special teams, I don't know how they know this. I don't know if he played special teams and how much at Mizzou.  But I just don't see him get cut.  That's its own media circus.  



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