Ram-ifications: Sam is a political football
Jeff Fisher, head coach of the St. Louis Rams, saw a rare last-round coup when he drafted the openly gay Michael Sam. He saw Sam as a motivational rallying point for the team as well as a useful pass rusher. Fisher also saw the local angle, that Sam was well liked at the U of Missouri. He should bond easily with his new team and a not far removed location.
“I know exactly what we’re getting into, and I’m not worried at all,” Fisher told NFL.com.
That was before he knew Sam had contracted with Oprah Winfrey for a reality TV series. And that was before a U.S. senator cited Sam as deserving protection from being fired. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) tweeted: “Michael Sam could still be fired for being gay, according to MO law. Let’s fix that.”
Thus Sam was drawn into a political battle he had not provoked. McCaskill’s position is opposed by those who do not want homosexual people receiving employment protections not enjoyed by straights. If Sam is cut – as he likely will be in some future year if not this one – will he file suit for discrimination?
Of course, the same argument was used for years as reason for not hiring black men to coach or manage. Surprise: lots of firings, no flood of litigation.
Although Fisher sees revenue from Sam’s arrival – his jersey is the team’s biggest seller – more than anything he fears, as any coach would, DISTRACTION, which is anything that makes a coach uneasy. “I want it to be removed from Webster’s,” said Sam’s agent, Cameron Weiss. At any rate, the Rams persuaded Oprah Network to delay the Sam Show until, at least, he makes the team.
Click here to Link to The Boston Globe: “Michael Sam TV series should have been OK’d”
Manchester City star complains of birthday snub
Yaya Toure, star midfielder for English champion Manchester City, is upset because the team’s ownership did not wish him Happy Birthday. His agent suggested that because of the “disrespect” he may quit the team, even though three years remain on his contract @ $18 million a year.
Toure, who turned 31 on May 13, tried to lower the tensions by tweeting: “Card from City just arrived. Must have got lost in the post. Haha.”
Rumors persist he’s pushing for a trade to Barcelona, his former team. For now, he’s training for the World Cup, to be played in June in Brazil. Toure will represent his native country, Ivory Coast.
Marshawn Lynch snubs the prez as well as the press
When the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks visited the White House as guests of President Obama, a conspicuous no-show was Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch. The Beast Mode is notoriously reticent, incessantly trying to avoid media, even drawing a fine for it at the Super Bowl. His mother, Delisa Lynch, when asked by the Seattle Times why he didn’t go: “No particular reason was given to me. He just said he didn’t want to go.”
Mack Brown’s graduation advice: Avoid Jerry Springer
Mack Brown, recently retired football coach of the Texas Longhorns, gave a commencement address at UT’s School of Government. He offered one piece of advice to the graduating students: “If your wife or your girlfriend ever ask you to go on the Jerry Springer show, do not go.”
Peterson says Sherman is no shutdown corner
Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals, takes umbrage at Seattle’s Richard Sherman claiming to be the NFL’s best cornerback. Peterson told Arizona Sports 98.7: “If you put him in our system, I don’t think he’d be able to last . . . His job is definitely much easier than mine. . . . He’s covering space, he’s not really covering a guy.”
Peterson typically is assigned the opponent’s No. 1 receiver, regardless of where he lines up. Sherman, on the other hand, is assigned an area to cover, rather than a man to follow.
“He has great stats and he has great playmaking ability,” Peterson said . . . but as far as being a shutdown corner, man to man guy, in my eyes I don’t believe he’s that.”
Dear Patrick: You failed to note that Seattle’s system, unlike yours, requires the left cornerback to defend the run.
V. says Sterling knew he was being recorded
V. Stiviano told Dr. Phil she did NOT have sex with Donald Sterling, did NOT audiotape him without permission and did NOT “leak” the recording that brought the Los Angeles Clippers owner a lifetime ban from the NBA.
As an admittedly well compensated “assistant” to the octogenarian Sterling, she routinely used a tape recorder when meeting with him (“absolutely, with his permission”), that “the purpose of us recording was for him to learn things about himself.” She said “a friend” leaked the tapes to TMZ without her knowing.
Yankees addicted by Japanese candy
The most popular snack in the New York Yankees clubhouse is a candy made in Japan named Hi-Chew which is billed as a “fruit chew.” Pitcher David Phelps described it to ESPNNewYork.com as “kind of a mix between bubble gum and a Starburst.”
Pitcher Matt Thornton said, “I don’t know if there’s some sort of illegal substance or something like that . . . makes them so addictive, but they are definitely one of those things where you can knock down ten and not even realize it.”
Although the candy has been available in America for decades, it didn’t make it into the Yankees clubhouse until pitcher Hiroki Kuroda introduced it. Kuroda insists he’s not paid to distribute the product, which is now mailed free to any Yankee who wants it. “If they can relax by eating it,” Kuroda said, “that’s good.”
Indycar star keeps sharp by dodging Miami drivers
Tony Kanaan, who won last year’s Indy 500 but finished 26th in this year’s event, says living in Miami helps him train for his career. He told ESPN The Magazine (May 26): “The people in Miami are very famous for not being good drivers. It only helps me, because we have to have quick reflexes.”
Dear Tony: Interesting comment from a native of Brazil, whose people are famous for ignoring red lights and stop signs, if not for running out of fuel, as you did during your most recent race.
Tiger is not much of a tipper
Sports writer Rick Reilly, appearing on “Conan,” compared the tipping habits of golf’s two biggest stars, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson: “You need a court order to get Tiger’s wallet open. . . . I was with Phil once and it was raining. He sees a homeless guy, and he gets out, parks his car and gets out his umbrella to give to the guy. Tiger would have charged the guy!”