Well, that didn’t take long. The St. Louis Rams cut defensive end Michael Sam over the weekend. Sam is, or would have been, the NFL’s first openly gay player.
He was drafted late, seventh round. Homophobia was suggested. Now that he has been cut, homophobia has been blamed, by Michelangelo Signorile at the Huffington Post.
Michael Sam was cut by the St. Louis Rams over the weekend. Over the following 24 hours, no other team had decided to claim the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL. Then came the news that the Rams didn’t choose him for its practice squad. And though he could be picked for a practice squad for another team this week, NFL watchers believe his options are dim.
There have already been lots of arguments on social media, and it will continue this week, over whether or not this represented homophobia in the NFL. Frankly, I’m astounded that anyone can even debate this. One person on my Facebook page said that if Michael Sam were good enough he’d be playing. I don’t know how this person could possibly justify such a statement since the NFL’s record — of giving slaps on the wrist for ugly homophobic incidents and hiring known haters — suggests otherwise, and no openly gay player had been drafted before.
And none of that bears on Sam’s performance in pre-season or whether he is what the Rams or any other team needs. He had a decent pre-season. The Rams cut him because he wasn’t what they believe they need. No other team took him on.
That’s what happens in pre-season football. Some rookies make it, many rookies don’t.
The Rams also cut Sam from their practice squad, and explained why.
They already have five defensive ends on their 53-man roster and have depth needs at too many other positions to cover injuries, and they need players for the scout team to run the plays of opposing teams in practice now that the regular season is here.
As of Sunday night, the Post-Dispatch had confirmed the names of six players the Rams will sign for their 10-man practice squad. But they still had needs to address at quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback – which would soak up the final four spots.
They’re too deep at defensive end and too thin elsewhere.
Signorile devotes the rest of the article to bashing the NFL for being “homophobic,” a smear that halts any discussion dead in its tracks. He bashes the Giants for hiring David Tyree for player development, because Tyree opposes gay marriage.
What that has to do with whether Tyree will make a good player development director or not is not explained.
Bashing Tyree’s hiring is telling. Tyree is the former Giant wide receiver whose insane helmet catch led to the Giants defeating the Perfect Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
Tyree might know how to spot and develop players for the Giants. Or not. But his stand on gay marriage has nothing to do with that at all. Signorile wants Tyree banished over something that has nothing to do with his job. He wants Sam captured by an NFL team for reasons that have nothing to do with the job.