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The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Michael Sam cut by St. Louis Rams for underwhelming performance, not sexuality

Back in late August, the first openly gay professional football player was cut from the team who drafted him. 

This player is Michael Sam.

This recent news has sparked debate on whether Sam was cut due to his play on the field or for his sexual preference. The latter is simply not true.

Unless a person has been cut off from social media since April, they have most likely heard of the Michael Sam story. 

Sam played college football for the Missouri Tigers, where he was a team captain. He finished his season leading Missouri in multiple categories and was named the Southeastern Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named a consensus first-team All American as a defensive end. 

There were high hopes for his draft status, and then Sam announced that he was gay.

Sam came out back in February, about three months before the NFL draft. He received a lot of positive support via social media, as well as from those within the football world.  

From here it was time for Sam to begin preparing for the NFL draft in April. Unfortunately it did not go as he would have hoped.

Sam, at six foot two inches tall, is undersized from an NFL defensive end standpoint. After underperforming at the NFL combine, his draft stock fell from what experts were projecting prior.

Despite that, many were impressed with how Sam handled himself when being interviewed post-combine. 

“I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player,” said Sam in a press conference at the NFL combine.

When the draft came, Sam would have to wait a long time to hear his name called — the 249th pick (7th round), to be exact, by the St. Louis Rams. The news even prompted a press release from the White House: “The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey.”

Being the first gay NFL player obviously came with a lot of media attention. Sam was followed by many of the major sports media outlets throughout training camp and into the preseason. 

With this microscope put on him, Sam had to show he was able to play as an NFL defensive lineman.

He showed glimpses throughout his preseason that he could one day be on a 53-man NFL roster, just not right now.

Despite tallying three sacks during the preseason, Sam was cut from the Rams and was not picked up by their practice squad. However, Sam was recently added to the Cowboys practice squad.

Seeing a seventh-round draft pick being cut is far from an anomaly. It has even been estimated that fewer than 10 percent of seventh-round draft picks end up making the team they were drafted by. 

“Somebody is going to get cut or not play,” said Carolyn Fowler, a former women’s college basketball player at Appalachian State, in an interview with The Guilfordian. “Coaches take a lot of heat when the general public doesn’t know what’s going on.”

Sam was competing for a spot among one of the best and deepest defensive lines in the NFL.

Guilford College football player Ben Winstead commented on whether he felt having a gay player on the football team would change things from a team perspective. 

“As long as he is someone who is going to help us be successful, then he would always have a place on the team,” said Winstead.

View Comments (5)
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About the Contributor
Reese Setzer, Sports Editor

Comments (5)

The Guilfordian intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guilfordian does not allow anonymous comments, and requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.
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  • L

    LouSep 15, 2014 at 2:14 am

    !. Where are your comments? Am I the only one?

    2. Sam produced a team high 6 tackles trying out with the Rams. But you call him underwhelming.

    What really, is your problem with Sam?

    • R

      Reese Setzer, Sports EditorJun 24, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      I know I am very late on replying to this (simply due to this being my second article I ever wrote and not having experience with the comment section), but I just wanted to note that this was not the article title I proposed for this article, but rather the editor for this section. The point trying to be made is that Sam just did not have the tangibles to be a stable member of a 53 man roster. The “underwhelming” portion of his career came at the combine, but the editor for that section did not make that clear in the headline unfortunately. At this time I was still a staff writer, not the sports editor, so in the future if you do have any comments on my articles or any sports article I will be glad to discuss them!

  • T

    terriclairSep 14, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    Michael blessed to get another chanc to play a. Sport he love so is only one thing he should stop throwing his lover out there in the media’s face all that kissing and stuff. Every one knows that you are gay.So keep it to football. I’m 65and a grandmother of 5 its a lot of people all around the world who love you

  • J

    Jon ScottSep 14, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    The headline on this article doesn’t match the body of the story. It is true that Sam was cut for purely football reasons… but his performance was far from “underwhelming”. It was actually among the best on the Rams in pre-season but, as you stated, he was in a program with proven NFL veterans at the same position.

  • W

    walter leeSep 13, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    If Michael Sam feels like everyone should just see as a football player and not being gay why did he feel it was so important that he come out of the closet ? I will tell you why. It’s because he knows that being gay is wrong. God didn’t make us that way. I hate that he as a young man has to go through this. A lot of people might say he can’t help how he is but he can . You don’t have to be gay . That you can change . Your skin color you can’t.