But the Vikings passed on him 10 times. In fact, Sam -- subject of this week's cover feature, "America's last closet: Professional sports" -- almost fell out of the draft entirely before being selected as the 249th pick (out of 255) by the St. Louis Rams.
Thirty years after meeting in City Pages, gay couple plans to wed
Sam's slide into the seventh round arguably wasn't as significant as what happened next, though. Namely, The Kiss That Spawned 1,000,000 Social Media Reactions (Including this especially bizarre one). Here's the video:
Once his emotions subsided, Sam vowed to make all the teams that passed on him pay.
Asked by a reporter how he was feeling as pick after pick went by without his name being called, Sam said, "I knew I was going to get picked somewhere. And every team that passed me, I was thinking of how I was going to sack their quarterback."
Later, asked about his NFL readiness, he said, "Let me tell you something. If we were playing the Vikings right now, I'd probably have three sacks the first game." (The reference probably had more to do with the fact the Rams open the 2014 season at home against the Vikings than anything else.)
Though Sam was drafted after all, our favorite former punter thinks he probably would've gone higher if he were straight:
Michael Sam still not drafted? Clearly teams are worried about the fact a gay player terrifies them... I mean his intangibles.
And please, spare me the "poor Pro Day/Combine." Teddy Bridgewater had a shitastic Pro Day and still went where he was projected.-- Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 10, 2014
What's that saying scouts and GMs always use? "We only care about game tape?" Fucking hypocrites.-- Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 10, 2014
At least one team finally showed some balls. Good job Rams.-- Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 10, 2014
Meanwhile, the Vikings' internal investigation into the homophobic comments coach Priefer allegedly made during the 2012 season continues. Though much of Leslie Frazier's coaching staff was dismissed, new head coach Mike Zimmer brought Priefer back as special teams coach.
However, it's still a very real problem that it took this long.-- Chris Kluwe (@ChrisWarcraft) May 10, 2014
h/t -- Bob Collins
-- Follow Aaron Rupar on Twitter at @atrupar. Got a tip? Drop him a line at [email protected]