When Dallas Cowboys owner and president Jerry Jones announced he would sign gay football player Michael Sam to the Cowboys practice squad, many observers believed it was a football decision. Now we know it wasn't.
According to NBC’s Peter King and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, an unnamed NFL official called all around the NFL begging team owners and coaches to consider signing Sam to a practice squad. It didn't matter that Sam's lack of speed and one-dimensional skill-set made him a poor fit for any team.
Sam, 24, was unceremoniously cut from the St. Louis Rams team on Saturday after Coach Jeff Fisher complied with a similar request from the NFL to draft Sam in May. Fisher declined to sign Sam to the Rams practice squad -- and when 31 other teams passed on claiming Sam off waivers, he was left without a job and facing an uncertain future as a professional football player.
According to King, Sam and the NFL were left with a PR "nightmare situation."
“The Rams waived Michael Sam, the first openly gay player trying to make an NFL roster, he was unemployed for two days,” King said. “During that time a league official contacted multiple teams asking if they had evaluated Sam as a probable practice squad player.”
“Now Sam and the NFL avoided a nightmare situation when he signed with the practice squad of the Dallas Cowboys.”
The Daily Caller speculates that other NFL players who were vying for a spot on a practice squad will be upset to learn that Sam received special treatment due to his homosexuality.
This report, that is surely to upset other players vying for NFL practice squads around the league, was initially reported by ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on yesterday’s edition of “First Take.”
“According to sources I have in the NFL, the league did call a few teams. They did want teams to take Michael Sam because obviously we see what kind of movement they’re gearing for, and what they’re support of Michael Sam, who we all know, came out, acknowledged he was gay before the draft and ultimately something Roger Goodell and the NFL supports and they want their teams to support. But other teams weren’t too receptive to taking him on once the St. Louis Rams cut him,” reported the ESPN talking head.
“So in steps, Jerry Jones coming to the aid of the NFL and making a splash with his willingness to bring this guy on board to the practice squad.”
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