Michael Sam floats insinuation late pick in #NFL draft may have been due to homophobia

Michael Sam
Does he have a point?
(2014 NFL Combine photo courtesy
of Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

It begins:

ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis/AP) — Michael Sam believes he should’ve been taken sooner in the draft.

The Rams selected the former University of Missouri defensive standout with the 249th pick in the seventh round, which was the seventh-to-the-last pick in the 2014 Draft. The openly gay football player, who was SEC Defensive Player of the Year, thought a team should have chosen him during the first three rounds.

“From last season alone, I should’ve been in the first three rounds. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-American,” Sam said during a conference call, adding that other teams chickened out on selecting him.

The frustration mounted for Sam as the hours and rounds passed by, but he felt he would be picked.

“I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. Every team that passed me, I was thinking how I’m going to sack their quarterback,” Sam said.

Sam stopped short of directly saying his stock dropped in the draft because he came out.

“You know what, who knows? Who knows? Only the people who sit in the war room know,” he said. “They saw Michael Sam, day after day they scratched it off the board. That was their loss. But St. Louis kept me on that board. And you know what I feel like I’m a (Jadeveon) Clowney, a first draft pick. I’m proud of where I am now.”

I’ll admit I don’t pay much attention to sports stats, combines, etc so I’m not even sure he has a case here – but from what I’ve gathered from people who do read and analyze sports facts and figures and other related data, they’re saying his seventh round pick was just about right.  What do you think?

Honestly, no matter where he was picked I had hoped Sam would have said, “Great – I have a team, now let’s do this” – and then have gotten back to making his career about playing football and not about being gay, since it’s supposed to be something we’re not supposed to think about anyway.  That’s not to say he shouldn’t continue to promote gay awareness, and it’s not to say he doesn’t have a legitimate gripe.  But in some cases – especially in those situations where you’re just looking for an “in” with an organization so you can show people you’re no different than anybody else, sometimes it’s best to put certain suspicions to the side, especially when you can’t confirm them … and especially when you’re first starting out (no pun intended).

On the flip side of this, the same article that quoted Sam hinting that homophobia might have been behind his late round pick also included this bit of intriguing information:

An NFL.com writer was in the Rams’ draft room and reported late Saturday night that head coach Jeff Fisher unexpectedly suggested taking Sam, a player the team had not given much consideration to before.

Soooo … could Sam have been picked by the Rams because the team wanted to put on a show of “inclusiveness” rather than judging the athlete by his talent? Or was it a mixture of both?

Yeah, yeah – lots of questions, I know. And we’re unlikely to get concrete answers on any of it beyond people speaking “on background” due to fear that they, too, might be thrown into the “homophobia” mix.

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