The Ottumwa Courier

AP Sports

May 12, 2014

Column: Sam unafraid to rise or fall on his terms

We'll know what kind of football player the St. Louis Rams got with the 249th pick in the draft soon enough. We already know what kind of man they got in Michael Sam.

Anyone who watched him break into tears getting the phone call and expected only gratitude to spill out was in for a surprise. Because a few minutes later, breaking what amounted to a months-long silence, one of the first things Sam set out to do Saturday night was vaporize any lingering doubts that he wasn't macho enough for the NFL.

"Let me tell you something," he said, "if we were playing the Vikings right now I'll probably have three sacks the first game."

That was the message the league's first openly gay player sent to the Vikings and every other team that passed him over. He was less interested in why they did then when they were going to meet up next.

Asked whether he thought being frank about his sexuality hurt his chances of getting picked sooner, Sam began: "You know what, who knows? Who knows? Only the people who sit in the war room know."

He coolly repeated his promise to return the favor.

"They saw Michael Sam, day after day they scratched it off the board." That, Sam said, "was their loss."

He may not have the size and speed his competition did for a spot on an NFL roster, but he has the bravado. In a league of outsized personalities, Sam already looks like a good fit. He's not afraid to speak his mind in a business that pretends to hate "distractions," but doesn't hesitate to promote them when they're good for the bottom line.

Besides, there are dozens of players who could charitably be labeled "distractions" in the NFL right now, ranging from prima donnas to real criminals, and likely another dozen or so in the incoming draft class. If commissioner Roger Goodell and his owners are half as smart as they think they are, Sam is the kind of "distraction" they'll welcome. He'll be that rare player drawing attention for the right reason — at least most of the time.

Text Only
AP Sports
  • Baseball Capsules LOS ANGELES (AP) — Matt Kemp singled in the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning, Zack Greinke struck out a season-high 13 and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Atlanta Braves 3-2 on Wednesday night for their season-best fifth straight victory

    July 31, 2014

  • Rockies Cubs Baseball [Duplicate] Cubs C Baker enjoys spotlight after first win CHICAGO (AP) — John Baker's No. 12 was still in the pitcher's column on Wrigley Field's hand-operated scoreboard when the journeyman catcher returned to the ballpark on Wednesday. It was almost too good to be true, so Baker used his cellphone to grab

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Cardinals Padres Baseball-3 [Duplicate] Matheny: Cardinals suffer 'ugliest loss' of year SAN DIEGO (AP) — At least the St. Louis Cardinals didn't get shut out. Little else went right for the Cardinals on Wednesday night. Rookie Jesse Hahn held St. Louis to one run and four hits in seven innings and Jedd Gyorko and Will Venable each homer

    July 31, 2014 3 Photos

  • Cubs acquire struggling LHP Doubront from Red Sox CHICAGO (AP) — Theo Epstein was the first person to take a chance on Felix Doubront. Now he is going to give the struggling left-hander another opportunity. The Chicago Cubs acquired Doubront from the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday in exchange for a pla

    July 31, 2014

  • Cardinals Padres Basbeall [Duplicate] Walks get to Lynn in 6th inning of 3-1 loss SAN DIEGO (AP) — St. Louis' Lance Lynn didn't walk a batter until he put the first two San Diego Padres he faced in the sixth inning on base that way. Yangervis Solarte ended up scoring on Jedd Gyorko's go-ahead single with two outs, and the San Dieg

    July 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • McCarver to join St. Louis Walk of Fame UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. (AP) — The St. Louis Walk of Fame already features 10 men who played for the St. Louis Cardinals. Tim McCarver is about to make it No. 11. The former Cardinals catcher and Hall of Fame broadcaster will be inducted Monday on the D

    July 30, 2014

  • Real Madrid Roma Soccer [Duplicate] Fans invade field, disrupt Roma-Real Madrid match DALLAS (AP) — About 20 men, one waving a Palestinian flag, ran on the field in the 87th minute of Roma's 1-0 win over Real Madrid at the Cotton Bowl on Tuesday. The group of mostly young men overwhelmed the match security and delayed the game for a w

    July 30, 2014 4 Photos

  • Rockies Cubs Baseball-3 [Duplicate] Cubs beat Rockies in 16 innings, 4-3 CHICAGO (AP) — Both the Chicago Cubs and Colorado Rockies ran out of relief pitchers in a marathon game. The Rockies then turned to a starter. The Cubs used a catcher — and won. John Baker scored the winning run in the bottom of the 16th inning after

    July 30, 2014 7 Photos

  • Man charged with killing referee faces key hearing LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A Detroit-area soccer player accused of killing a referee with a punch faces a key hearing on a second-degree murder charge. Police and prosecutors say Bassel Saad struck John Bieniewicz (BEN'-uh-wits) June 29 as the 44-year-old

    July 30, 2014

  • Rockies Cubs Baseball [Duplicate] Wada earns first MLB win as Cubs beat Rockies CHICAGO (AP) — After nine seasons in Japan and three years in the minor leagues, Cubs starter Tsuyoshi Wada finally picked up that elusive first major league victory. Wada (1-1) left little doubt to Monday night's outcome, pitching seven strong innin

    July 29, 2014 7 Photos

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National