Yesterday was the end of the road for many unlucky NFL rookies who were cut from their NFL team’s roster. One football player who survived the first round of cuts is openly gay Michael Sam, the Southeastern Conference defensive player of the year who hoped to ensure his spot on a NFL team by announcing his homosexuality before the draft.
Sam is competing with undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks for a backup defensive end position with the St. Louis Rams. The final day to shave the roster down to 53 players is Saturday.
If the final decision comes down to player stats, Sam has the edge on Westbrooks with three sacks and four quarterback hits, including a sack of Browns’ QB Johnny Manziel last weekend.
Westbrooks has only one sack and three quarterback hits in the preseason.
But Westbrooks’ play on the field isn’t shadowed by controversy in the locker room.
Josina Anderson, an ESPN reporter quoted several Rams players who say Sam “respects” his teammates by waiting to shower in the team locker room after pre-season games.
“Another Rams defensive player told me that ‘Sam is respecting our space’ and that, from his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is kind of waiting to take a shower, as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable,” Anderson said on SportsCenter Tuesday.
ESPN’s report hinted at tension between Sam and some teammates who are self-conscious about him peeking at their nether regions.
ESPN has since apologized for airing the report, which many gay groups found demeaning and homophobic.
“ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report,” ESPN said in a statement. “Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.”
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