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Michael Sam

On September 1, the ESPN First Take team debated the future of Michael Sam, the first openly gay football player to be drafted by an NFL team. Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams in the final round of cuts after pre-season, and cleared waivers without any other teams claiming him. While it is unclear whether he will return to the practice squad of the Rams or be picked up by another team, but most every NFL analyst seems to agree that Michael Sam is not done with his dream of playing in the league.

The entire country watched Sam fall to the later stages of the seventh round on draft day this year, waiting in his living room alongside his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano. The emotion of the live coverage of him receiving the call from the Rams in tears and kissing his boyfriend tugged at the heartstrings of the nation as he made NFL history. While not going in the third-round as Skip Bayliss confidently predicted based on his performance his last season in college, his selection made history nonetheless. Sam is on record as wanting to be known for his skill on the field rather than merely being a curiosity because of his sexual orientation, and media circus aside, the man does have the chops to play at the highest level. Sam was awarded the honor of co-defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) his final year, and it seems unlikely that he will go too long without someone taking a chance on the defensive back.

Sam had a difficult road ahead of him when it was the Rams who selected him in the draft. With nine defensive backs in the mix, man of whom were impact players last season, making the team would have required a phenomenal training camp. Sam did not have that. He had a good pre-season, and did make it to the final cut, showing the level of talent and potential the Rams believe him to have. This makes it likely that he will be signed back on to the practice squad should no other teams approach him with a better offer. The limitations of his skillset make it almost certain that he would not function well in a 3-4 defense, limiting his serious suitors to the 14 other 4-3 defenses in the NFL. That being said, a pass rusher of his caliber will be hard for all of those teams to pass on as the season looms large on the horizon. Size and speed concerns aside, the man finds the quarterback, and that is something which will likely outweigh the ephemeral concerns about being a possible distraction for at least a couple of teams.

While a courageous move to step out and make a stand by coming out when he did, the distinction of being the first openly gay player is a double-edged sword. He is dreaming of playing in a league where players work their entire careers to leave a legacy based on their athletic achievements. As a football player, he must surely want the same thing for himself. Every discussion going forward, however, will almost inevitably involve a discussion of his sexual orientation and the possible effect it has on relationships with teammates and whether or not that impacted his stats. Every contract discussion that will ever be reported on will likely involve the question of whether or not his orientation is a consideration for management in those talks. By taking upon himself the hopes of gay atheletes across the nation with his decision to come out, he has also put himself on a very difficult, very public road. For the dream of playing in the NFL, however, it appears that Michael Sam is willing and able to survive it.

Commentary By J. Dylan Halen

Sources:
DailyMail
BBC
ESPN

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Newsfairies.com

Tired of having no voice? Become a News Fairy!
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Las vegas is home to a new online news outlet for and by the LGBT community. We have a citizen journalist format, accepting and publishing all points of view. This is a format which will give a boldly inclusive perspective on the news; local, national and international. The site is a combination of traditional news reporting, blogs, and uploaded video.

Through a partnership with some corporate partners, we have a program which provides us smartphones for use by our “field fairies” in order to capture video reports from anywhere our fairies are. From funny videos of the kinds of things you only see on the strip to instant reports from the bars letting our readers know what club or event is packed when they are looking for a place to go out, this section of the site will be the most viewed by a mile. Fairies have more fun, and then tell about it on our online paper.

This is a serious journalistic site. We have content designed to inform and educate in all traditional news categories; World & U.S., Business, Technology & Gaming, Entertainment, Sports, and Science & Health. Our paper, however, does not marginalize or apologize for the LGBT community. We celebrate it, and put it on the front page. We cover the stories which media outlets owned by straight people shy away from. We love our straight readers, but we write for a LGBT audience, and we are not afraid to bring the unique “attitude” to our reporting that makes us who we are.

We have “sister fairies” reporting in cities across the country, but we have made our base of operations in Las Vegas, and we are ready to take the city by storm. We want the LGBT community here to always have a platform where they have a voice. It is time for the world to see us as we are, take it or leave it, and not as we are portrayed in the mainstream media, however well-intended or sympathetic.

We want you! In conjunction with the Liberty Voice Institute, we offer journalism classes for those who need help with writing in the journalistic style. We have grammar and composition classes to help you with your writing if you need that. We even offer a program which will help you to prepare to take a GED exam. All of these classes are offered free to members of the community as a service, whether or not you want to become a fairy. We want to do more than just talk about making an impact on our community. We would like to share our vision for doing that with you.

We have very few paid positions at the moment, but for those who volunteer as fairies, you will have the opportunity to have your work published in a national publication. Some will receive an iPhone or a similar device for field reporting, based on the quality of reports you provide and the number of views you are able to bring to the site with your content. For those of you who graduate from our journalism classes, you will also have the chance to receive a contract as a freelance journalist with one of our sister sites which do offer compensation for articles in addition to your work on newsfairies.com. As the site grows, there will be a great deal of opportunity for those dedicated fairies who help us build and grow the site to move into paid positions here. Even if you are not a writer, we are looking for social media specialists, marketing specialists, designers, and administrative assistance. The sky is the limit. We are just getting started. The model we build here will be repeated across the nation in cities from coast to coast. This ship is sailing. All aboard!

For more information on this site and the opportunities we have, contact the Editor-in-Chief at jimmnrst@gmail.com