Supporters of Michael Sam, the first-ever openly gay player in America’s National Football League (NFL), are dismayed after he was cut from his team, the St. Louis Rams.
In May, Sam made history after he was drafted by the Rams for a chance to join the team. On Saturday, it was announced that the athlete had failed to make the final cut.
“I will tell you this: I was pulling for Mike, I really was,” said Rams Coach Jeff Fisher, reports Outsports. “It was a football decision, and the decision is no different than any other decision that we make. It was a football decision. It was a football decision back in may to draft Mike.”
There was talk that Sam might be picked up by another team but as the NFL team selection deadline approached this became increasingly unlikely. He could still be chosen to join the Rams’ practice team.
Writing on Facebook, Sam thanked the Rams and the city of St. Louis “for giving me this tremendous opportunity and allowing me to show I can play at this level.”
The 24-year-old added: “I look forward to continuing to build on the progress I made here toward a long and successful career. The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues…”
Sam, who completed university last year, was one of the most sought after college players by the traditionally macho NFL. After he came out as gay in February, he received praise from the likes of President Obama and became a role model for LGBT youth.
When he was drafted by the Rams back in May, he shared a televised kiss with his boyfriend that was both applauded and condemned.