When the St. Louis Rams released Michael Sam, it was a football decision and might have been a favor to the former SEC Defensive Player of The Year. Their defense is so stacked at his position that making the actual game day roster at any point this season would have been a stretch. Had they kept him for the sake of public relations it would’ve been a disservice to Sam and the progress he represents.
If he is signed by the Dallas Cowboys, as has been reported, anyone calling it a PR stunt would be wrong, and those who call it one should considering asking themselves why they feel that way. By season’s end, Sam will appear in a game for the Cowboys.
Like several pundits have pointed out, Sam is one of only 12 players to record more than 2.5 sacks this preseason. Of those players, 10 are on 53-man rosters and the other made a practice squad; Sam is the only one still looking for a job. The Rams’ decision to waive him is defensible because of the players remaining on their roster. The story becomes a cultural one once the longer Sam remains a free agent.
If Sam is indeed signed to the Cowboys’ practice squad, he’ll be going to a much thinner defense and will have a much higher chance to work himself into a playing role. Dallas can use all the help they can get defensively having lost another defensive end today – second-round pick DeMarcus Lawrence will miss at least half the season as he recovers from foot surgery.
Yes, Sam’s chances at starting at not particularly high, but it’s also fair to expect a handful of appearances this season. For the move to be considered a PR stunt, Sam would have to serve no other purpose than to improve jersey sales and make headlines. That is simply not the case, and thinking so greatly overlooks Sam’s on-the-field attributes and is as derogatory as hoping Sam doesn’t make a team at all.
Calling Sam a distraction while players allegedly beat their pregnant girlfriends and owners are suspended for their conduct is the definition of backwards. Michael Sam may not lead the NFL in tackles, but he could lead the league’s progress from harmful thinking.
Anthony F. Irwin is an NBA, NFL, MLB and NCAA Football contributor for Rantsports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. Send him an email at Anthony.F.Irwin@gmail.com.