Rams Draft Michael Sam, St. Louis Suddenly Cares About Its Football Team Again


Michael Sam celebrates being drafted to the St. Louis Rams with his boyfriend. - YOUTUBE
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  • Michael Sam celebrates being drafted to the St. Louis Rams with his boyfriend.

Historic news hit the sports world this weekend when the St. Louis Rams drafted former University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, making him the first publicly out gay man on a National Football League roster.

Sam wasn't drafted until late in the seventh round, the 249th player selected to join the league, so Sam had days to wait and wonder how his public coming out in the New York Times earlier this year would affect his chances of signing onto a team.

See also: Michael Sam and the Rise of the Gay Athlete

Then the call came in, and ESPN trained its camera on Sam as his quivering lip soon gave way to a full-blown sob as the St. Louis Rams offered him a spot. Sam's boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, holds and hugs him until Sam can steady himself long enough to tell the Rams manager on the other end of the line, with a voice full of strength and enthusiasm, "Yes, sir."

Watch the video here:

Sam immediately thanked the fans in his new home, St. Louis, with this picture on Twitter:

Ever since Sam was drafted onto the St. Louis Rams, there's been a whirlwind of Sam-related news, announcements and complaints.

Here are the six most interesting things about Sam becoming a Ram:

1. That kiss between Sam and his boyfriend was perfect, and it was even better with cake. The first thing Sam did when he hung up from his life-changing phone call with the St. Louis Rams was kiss his boyfriend as surrounding supporters cheered. It was a simple, lovely gesture that almost made it hard to believe that before Sam, men who kiss other men in public weren't welcomed onto an NFL roster, let alone into the locker room. The celebration turned silly when Sam grabbed a fistful of cake, rubbed it on Cammisano's face, ate a little himself and kissed Cammisano again.

See also: Michael Sam, First Openly Gay NFL Player, Goes to the St. Louis Rams

2. Everyone wants to know more about Vito. The Washington Post, Slate, People Magazine, British tabloids, sports news sites -- news outlets around the world started scouring the Internet immediately to learn the newest and latest about Sam's main squeeze, Vito Cammisano. Turns out, Cammisano is an openly gay athlete himself. He swam for Missouri from 2009-'12, and he came out as gay in 2011. He went to high school in Kansas City, graduated from Mizzou and works as a promotions intern at Cumulus Broadcasting.

Now that the pair is officially out, they're posting adorbs photos of themselves online:

3. Even President Barack Obama congratulated Sam. Obama made waves in the football world recently when he said he'd have to think "long and hard" before allowing his son to play a game with such a high risk of serious head injury. But after the news this weekend, the White House reached out to Sam with a special congratulations:

"The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward in our nation's journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove every day that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are."

Three more amazing things after the jump. 4. Sam already has a Visa endorsement. Visa has already put out a commercial starring Sam, who is pumping iron furiously while his voiceover asks the audience to judge him for his performance on the field -- not his love life off the field. "We felt that Michael's story was a perfect fit for our 'everywhere' campaign, which is meant to inspire people to reach their own personal goals and aspirations," Visa's chief marketing officer Kevin Burke said in a statement. "We wish Michael the best on and off the field as he embarks on the next chapter of his life."

5. People seem to care about the Rams again. When the Rams aren't the butt of a joke about losing, they're a source of constant speculation: Will the team stay in St. Louis? Will they move to California? Will Stan Kroenke ever get the millions of dollars in stadium improvements he demands?

See also: Rumor Alert: Kroenke's Los Angeles Stadium is For Rams and New Soccer Team, L.A. Gunners

Now, the narrative has changed. The Rams aren't just the team that used to have that cute quarterback from the Charter commercials. The Rams are the team that landed Michael Sam, the NFL's first out gay player. 6. Sales for Michael Sam Rams jerseys are already through the roof. ESPN says the Rams started printing Sam jerseys less than three hours after he was the 249th pick in the draft. He doesn't even have a number yet, but No. 10 jersies with "Sam" on the back are already selling like crazy, apparently.

Follow Lindsay Toler on Twitter at @StLouisLindsay. E-mail the author at Lindsay.Toler@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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