Remember the St. Louis Rams? They were an NFL team that eventually relocated and became the Los Angeles Rams franchise that you know today. Way back in 2014, the Rams drafted the league’s first openly gay player, Michael Sam, with a seventh-round pick.
It was a wonderful story about a progressive football team showing a willingness to allow a gay man into a macho NFL locker room. The Rams took a stand and … what’s that? There’s a report that says the NFL made a deal with the Rams that if they drafted Sam, they wouldn’t have to be on HBO’s Hard Knocks that year?
What a wonderful message of inclusion!
Shortly after his college career at Missouri ended, Sam came out publicly, acknowledging he is gay. The SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, Sam was considered a fifth-round pick at best. But, as the draft proceeded on the final day, it appeared he might not be drafted at all. It is believed the NFL didn’t want to face questions about that eventuality, and the Rams were viewed as the ideal spot because of St. Louis’ proximity to the Missouri campus in Columbia, 90 miles away, and head coach Jeff Fisher’s ability to deal with whatever distractions there might be.
The story also details how the Rams signed undrafted free agent Ethan Westbrooks, who is still with the team, and paid him more than what a seventh-round pick would be guaranteed because he was the player the team really wanted with that pick.
The whole thing is unseemly and unbelievable, but since this is the NFL, it’s not the craziest conspiracy theory.