NEW YORK, N.Y. - Michael Sam waited and waited. Hours passed, rounds came and went, and eventually, there were only eight more picks left on the third and final day of the NFL draft. For just a moment, it looked as if his chance of being picked by a pro team and becoming the leagues first openly gay player might take a detour. Or at least be delayed. The call finally came Saturday from the St. Louis Rams, the team right down the road from where Sam played his college ball at the University of Missouri. Sam was selected in the seventh and final round and admitted it was a frustrating wait. He said teams that passed on him chickened out and he should have been drafted sooner. "From last season alone, I shouldve been in the first three rounds. SEC Defensive Player of the Year, All-American," Sam said. He stopped short of directly saying his stock dropped in the draft because he came out. "You know what, who knows? Who knows? Only the people who sit in the war room know," he said. "They saw Michael Sam, day after day they scratched it off the board. That was their loss. But St. Louis kept me on that board. And you know what I feel like Im a (Jadeveon) Clowney, a first draft pick. Im proud of where I am now." Sam came out as gay in media interviews earlier this year. His team and coaches knew his secret and kept it for his final college season. He went on to have the best year of his career: He was the co-defensive player of the year in the NCAAs best football conference and had 11.5 sacks. The pick came after several rounds of suspense. The first round of the day, No. 4 overall, came and went, no Sam. Then the fifth and sixth, and finally, the day was down to just a handful of picks. When Mike Kensil, the NFLs vice-president of game operations, walked to the podium at Radio City Music Hall in the drafts final minutes to announce the Rams second-to-last pick, the crowd got a sense something was up. Very few of the last day picks were announced at the podium. Twitter lit up with suggestions the Rams were about to make news. When Kensil said: "The St. Louis Rams select ... Michael Sam..." the fans gave a hearty cheer, chanting "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and "Michael Sam!" Sam was in San Diego watching with friends and family at the home of his agent, Joe Barkett of Empire Athletes. ESPN and the NFL Network had cameras there and showed Sams reaction. Sam was on the phone bending over, with his boyfriend hugging him and rubbing his left bicep. When Sam got off the phone, the tears started. He gave his boyfriend a big kiss and a long hug as he cried and his eyes reddened. After, they shared cake — and another kiss. "Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. Im using every once of this to achieve greatness!!" Sam tweeted with a frenzied typo moments after he was picked, with a picture of himself wearing a Rams cap and a pink polo shirt. The six-foot-two, 255-pound Sam was considered a mid-to-late round pick, far from a sure thing to be drafted. He played defensive end in college, but hes short for that position in the NFL and slower than most outside linebackers, the position hell need to transition to at the professional level. He was taken with the 249th overall pick out of 256. Players from Marist, Maine and Canadas McGill University — Redmen tackle Laurent Duvernay-Tardif went in the sixth round, 200th overall to Kansas City — were taken ahead of Sam. "In the world of diversity we live in now, Im honoured to be a part of this," Rams coach Jeff Fisher said during an interview on ESPN. The NFL had no comment on Sam being drafted. The impact of Sams selection goes far beyond football. At a time when gay marriage is gaining acceptance among Americans, Sams entry into the NFL is a huge step toward the integration of gay men into professional team sports. Pro sports have in many ways lagged behind the rest of society in acceptance. "Michael Sam wouldnt have been drafted five years ago," said former Viking punter Chris Kluwe, who has accused Minnesota of cutting him in part because of his vocal support for gay rights. In the last year, NBA veteran Jason Collins has come out publicly as gay, and is now playing for the Brooklyn Nets. Collins said before the Nets playoff game against the Heat that he was watching the draft and texted Sam after he was picked. "Its a great day for Michael and his family and for the NFL," Collins said. Publicly, most people in and related to the NFL have been supportive of Sam. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell has said Sam would be welcome in the league and judged solely on his ability to play. A few wondered whether teams would be reluctant to draft Sam because of all the media attention that would come with it. Fair or not, the NFL — coming off a season in which a bullying scandal involving players on the Miami Dolphins was one of the biggest stories in sports — was looking at a possible public relations hit if Sam was not drafted. He would likely have been signed as a free agent and given a chance to make a team in training camp, but to many it would have looked as if he was being rejected. Now that hes there, it could be seen as an opportunity for the NFL to show that crass locker room culture is not as prevalent as it might have looked to those who followed the embarrassing Dolphins scandal. But all the reaction to Sams news wasnt positive from the league. Miami safety Don Jones posted a one-word tweet, "Horrible" shortly after Sam was drafted. It was later taken down. The teams general manager said he was aware, and was disappointed. Wade Davis, a gay former NFL player who is now the executive director of the gay rights advocacy group "You Can Play," said Sam only needs to do his job to have an impact beyond the field. "Michael Sam doesnt have to be a vocal advocate (for gay rights)," Davis said. "His visibility is his advocacy." [url=https://www.cheapbrewers.com/1209y-christian-yelich-jersey-brewers.html]Christian Yelich Jersey[/url] .com) - John Wall supplied 24 points and 11 assists in leading the Washington Wizards to a 102-91 win over the New York Knicks on Christmas Day. [url=https://www.cheapbrewers.com/919y-gio-gonzalez-jersey-brewers.html]Gio Gonzalez Brewers Jersey[/url] . The 22-year-old slugger, who is no stranger to adversity, made up for it at the end. 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They ring as true now as they did when Mularkey heard them the first time playing tight end for the Pittsburgh Steelers Hall of Fame coach 25 years ago.MINSK, Belarus - Canadian captain Kevin Bieksa paid the price in the form of a chipped tooth and stitches on the inside of his mouth. After Canada held on to beat the Czech Republic 4-3 on Monday at the world hockey championship, it was worth it. Bieksa took Jan Kovars stick to the mouth, a penalty that gave Canada a five-minute man advantage it scored twice on. When the Czechs scored twice in the third period to make things interesting, those power-play goals loomed large. "If you look at it, its the difference in the game," coach Dave Tippett said. Canadas power play was 1-for-11 in the tournament before Nathan MacKinnon and Morgan Rielly scored 17 seconds apart to build a three-goal lead. Even though Jiri Novotny and Tomas Hertl cut the advantage to one late, it was enough of a cushion to allow Canada to survive for a second straight victory. Still flush in his face from stopping 31 shots, goaltender James Reimer joked he and his teammates just wanted to keep it close and entertain the fans at Chizhovka-Arena. But he expected the Czechs to make a push. "Theyre a good team," Reimer said, pausing to catch his breath. "And obviously theyre playing desperate. ... You know they werent going to roll over, you knew they were going to come hard." That was thanks in part to what Tippett called "unforced errors" by his players. "Theyre going to get their pressure just because theyre good players, but then adding fuel to the fire, thats when youre really in trouble," Tippett said. "There was two or three times in that third period where we had a good chance to clear it, make a good, solid, simple play and we forced pucks that got turned over and then it comes right back at you." Even though it got nerve-wracking late, Canada had some breathing room. Goals by Joel Ward — his third of the tournament — and assistant captain Kyle Turris helped the Canadians rebound from giving up the first goal for a third straight game before the power play finally clicked. That wasnt just a coincidence. Tippett made some personnel switches on the power-play units, putting Alex Burrows, Ward and Turris on the ice to see what would change. "Less skill and more work," he said. Work behind the net put Bieksa in position to draw the game-altering slashing penalty 15:01 into the second period on Kovar, who got an automatic game misconduct.ddddddddddddCzech coach Vladimir Ruzicka was surprised it was called slashing and not high-sticking after checking it out on video. No matter the penalty, Bieksa required medical attention on the bench while the game was delayed as workers brushed his blood off the ice. The 32-year-old Vancouver Canucks defenceman remained in the contest, to the surprise of no one. "Give credit to him: Just spat out some blood and was ready to go on the next shift," winger Matt Read said. "Hes a warrior, hes our leader and its good to see that." Bieksa was unable to talk to reporters afterwards because he required stitches that made it difficult for him to speak. His teammates spoke for him, most notably on the five-minute major power play. "Thats a huge aspect of the game," Read said. "A guy sacrificing his body, unfortunately, but if you dont come out with at least one goal, you know youre on your heels and it gives them all the momentum." Instead, Canada had all of it until midway through the third when the Czech Republic turned up the heat. The pro-Czech crowd of 6,317 came to life, but two late penalties — to Jaromir Jagr and Jiri Hudler — ended the chances of a comeback. The win gave Canada seven points atop Group A. Its next game is Thursday against Denmark. Before then, Tippett hopes to work on some things and use the third period as a teaching tool. "Those are all good things — not good things for our team, but learning experiences for our team that we have to make sure we can get through situations like that," he said. Just minutes after holding on, Canadas players recognized the value of getting tested in a game they looked to have total control of. "Its something were going to learn from moving forward that you cant take it easy going into the third, no matter what kind of lead you have," Turris said. "Were gaining experience as we go." NOTES — Former Calgary Flames forward Roman Cervenka opened the scoring for the Czech Republic, cashing in on a two-on-one rush with Vladimir Sobotka. ... Canada chased Czech starter Jakub Kovar after Riellys goal, the fourth on 13 shots. Alexander Salak got a roughing penalty for punching Burrows just seconds after he entered the game, then stopped the seven shots he saw the rest of the way. 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15 nov. 2019
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