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Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team was confident and engaged Tuesday as he was formally introduced ...
by the St. Louis Rams. (May 14)
Tags:2014 nfl draft,ap,AP News,Associated Press,first openly gay football player,michael sam comes out,michael sam interview,michael sam st. louis rams,openly gay nfl player
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SHOTLISTAP TELEVISION - AP CLIENTS ONLY St. Louis, Missouri, 13 May, 2014.++SOUNDBITES SEPARATED BY WHITE FLASHES++1. SOUNDBITE: Michael Sam, St Louis Rams NFL player: "It's OK to be who you are, whether you're gay, straight black or white. It's okay to be comfortable in your own skin."2. SOUNDBITE: Michael Sam, St Louis Rams NFL player: (In response to question about family's history - How did you avoid some of the very difficult things that happened to your family?)"Adversity hits everyone. Depending on what you want to do with it. I wanted to get it out. I wanted to do some great things so I played sports. I got better at football. I got better at my grades. I went to college. I was the first person in my family to graduate and now I'm the first person in my family to go to the NFL. So I just keep on fighting. Keep fighting the good fight."3. SOUNDBITE: Michael Sam, St Louis Rams NFL player: "when you see me, like I said earlier, I'm determined to be great. I'm determined to make this team and I have every confidence in myself that I will make this team, so when I do make it and when I put my pads on, if somebody wants to say something then you'll see number 96 running down that field and making big plays with his team."4. SOUNDBITE: Michael Sam, St Louis Rams NFL player: "right now, I'm just looking forward to continuing on my dream and if it inspires other people and, you know, hey, I'm with you and if anyone's not ok with that, like I said, earlier, if someone disowns you, hey, be a part of my family, I welcome you."STORYLINE:Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team was confident and engaged Tuesday as he was formally introduced by the St. Louis Rams, handling questions and scrutiny with aplomb well beyond that of a typical seventh-round fringe prospect."I'm determined to be great," Sam said.Sam put his arm around coach Jeff Fisher after sharing the podium with other late-round picks. Sam disagreed that his sexuality had been a secret at Missouri (he had come out to his teammates before last season). And he considers himself proof that it need not be a factor."It's OK to be who you are," Sam said. "It's OK to be comfortable in your own skin."The appearance of perhaps the most famous seventh-round pick in NFL history attracted a massive throng. A half-dozen TV trucks lined a crammed parking lot at Rams Park, an hour before the team's two first-round picks were due at the podium. Sam shared the dais with five other players taken in the sixth and seventh round Saturday as the draft came to a close. For his subsequent solo session, he was flanked by Fisher and Snead, with Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff joining the group.Sam puts on the pads later in the week when the team holds a rookie minicamp, normally a low-key event also sure to attract outsized attention.