I am sure there are going to be many people who question the Rams’ decision to cut Michael Sam from their roster. Some will say good riddance, while others will say he was unjustly cut because he is gay. The fact is that he was cut because he was not quite good enough to make the team, at least in the eyes of the coaches. I don’t think that the guy’s sexuality played any part in the Rams’ decision. It is not like he sprung the news on them after the draft.
The NFL is the ultimate corporate competition. Is there racism, sexism, and other prejudices? Obviously. The NFL is part of the real world that has all these things. But if a football player can help a team win games, he will make the roster. I have no doubt about this fact. Coaches want to win to keep their jobs and because they are competitive as hell. They will take the best guys for the job. Whether that player is black, green, gay, straight, ugly, handsome, ignorant, hard to deal with, a team player, or a distraction does not matter in the big picture. Can the player help the team….that is the biggest concern for a coaching staff. I may be naive, but I see that as truth. If Michael Sam was better than his competition, he would still be on the Rams’ roster.
I believe that the Rams will sign the former Missouri star to their practice squad. That is the best place for him for now. He has been with the team, knows the people there, and may be more comfortable with familiar surroundings. Unless another team is offering him a roster spot, the practice squad of the Rams is a good fit. It won’t be easy to break through to get on the actual team. That will be a grind. Other players have done it, so there is no reason Sam can’t do it as well. This will really test how badly he wants to play in the NFL though. Getting a check to be a on the practice team is still a check, but it is without the glory of game day. Practice is no fun for most athletes, and practice is all he will be doing…the entire season. It will be interesting to see how far he is willing to take his NFL dream.
What if Sam never makes an NFL roster? What will be his career path? I have no idea, but he seems like a bright, ambitious guy who could work in football broadcasting, coaching, or any number of related fields. Or he could end up like many other football players and just work a normal career. There would be no shame in that either. Making it to the NFL full time is not something that a high percentage of athletes can accomplish obviously. Michael Sam did a truly brave thing in coming out of the closet. Football is not a place where open mindedness runs rampant. He knew what he was facing when he made the announcement. Now he faces an uphill battle that has more to do with his football ability than his sexuality. He has shown that he is not afraid of the spotlight or hard work. He knew the Rams were stacked at defensive line and he still made a good showing in the preseason. I don’t know if Michael Sam will ever play another down in an NFL game. I feel like he has the talent to do so, but in the NFL, talent is plentiful. He will need to outwork, outsmart, and outplay his competition to rise above. Even if he never makes it, he has went above what most people are willing to do in life.