Category: Missouri


St Louis Blues silence Boston Bruins in Game 7 to win first Stanley Cup title

Blues win 5-1 in Game 7 for first title in team’s 52-year historySt Louis center Ryan O’Reilly awarded Conn Smythe trophyGame 7: St Louis Blues 4-1 Boston Bruins – as it happenedRyan O’Reilly scored for the fourth straight game and rookie Jordan Binnin…


St Louis Blues silence Boston Bruins in Game 7 to win first Stanley Cup title

Blues win 5-1 in Game 7 for first title in team’s 52-year historySt Louis center Ryan O’Reilly awarded Conn Smythe trophyGame 7: St Louis Blues 4-1 Boston Bruins – as it happenedRyan O’Reilly scored for the fourth straight game and rookie Jordan Binnin…


Kareem Hunt admits lying to Chiefs about assault which led to his release

Running back cut over video of him kicking womanPlayer tells ESPN NFL did not speak to himKareem Hunt has acknowledged lying to the Kansas City Chiefs about his role in a February assault in a Cleveland hotel that ultimately led to his release this wee…


The NFL has left a gap but money is a brake on St Louis’ MLS ambitions

The Gateway to the West has a proud tradition of soccer but the city may have to wait for a while before it gets its own soccer franchise

When the St Louis Rams announced earlier this month that they were moving to Los Angeles, the knock-on effect on soccer revolved primarily around two questions: how will this move impact the fledgling Los Angeles FC and storied LA Galaxy? (Barely, according to most reports.) And what does the move mean for the MLS prospects of St Louis – a city with one of the richest soccer heritages in the country, yet one that has never hosted a top-tier franchise in MLS’s 20-year existence?

In response to the latter question, MLS commissioner Don Garber was perhaps a little more positive than some in the city might have expected. In a recent interview, Garber announced that the departure of the Rams “gives a little more momentum” to St Louis’ chances of gaining an expansion slot. He added that the league had already held discussions with those leading the push for an MLS franchise in St Louis, and they were hopeful, too, of speaking to the city’s mayor or governor in the near future.

Continue reading…


Mizzou Tigers score welcome win after week of racial tension and resignations

The University of Missouri has been rocked by a week of protests on campus but there was some unity to be found on the football field

In the end, after a week that frayed nerves and strained incredulity, a week that shook mountaintops and fractured a state, they danced. Gary Pinkel found himself surrounded by a circle of white jerseys, bobbing and swaying, a grey pebble sinking inside a bowl of undulating cream.

The University of Missouri football coach tensed up at first, briefly, as if to resist the urge to boogie away the blues. Eventually, he wiggled to and wiggled fro, a 63-year-old booty in full, cathartic shake. On a scale of 1 to 10, the judges decided …

Continue reading…


Former St Louis Cardinal Curt Ford punched and told ‘go back to Ferguson’

  • Ford also the subject of racist slur during incident
  • The former player says ‘I’ve had enough of St Louis’

The former St Louis Cardinals player Curt Ford says he is considering moving away from the city after he was attacked and told to “go back to Ferguson”.

The incident occurred when Ford and another man attempted to use the same pump at a gas station on Wednesday. Ford was then subject to racist abuse before being punched in the face. Prosecutors said a 37-year-old man had been charged with one count of assault motivated by discrimination in the third degree.

Continue reading…


Missouri police condemn footballers’ gesture in support of Michael Brown

Officers’ union calls for St Louis players to be disciplined over ‘hands-up’ gesture and threaten boycott of NFL advertisers Continue reading…


St Louis Rams players raise hands in apparent Ferguson gesture

  • ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ has become slogan of Michael Brown shooting protests
  • Five players in apparent show of solidarity before Oakland Raiders game

Continue reading…


St Louis Rams players raise hands in apparent Ferguson gesture

  • ‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ has become slogan of Michael Brown shooting protests
  • Five players in apparent show of solidarity before Oakland Raiders game

Five St Louis Rams players stood with their arms raised in an apparent show of solidarity for Ferguson protesters before trotting on to the field for pre-game introductions.

A Rams spokesman said on Sunday the team was not aware the gesture had been planned before the game against the Oakland Raiders.

Continue reading…


Michael Sam is free agent after NFL teams pass during waivers period

Defensive end, the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, was cut by the St Louis Rams on Saturday49er Ray McDonald jailed for domestic violence Continue reading…


St Louis Rams cut Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player

Defensive end fails to make final 53-man rosterSam says: I look forward to a long and successful career Continue reading…


‘I’m Michael Sam, I’m an American football player … and I’m gay’

The Missouri Tigers defender has come out but, unlike many gay sport stars, he took a chance by doing it at the start of his professional career

A week ago, 24-year-old Michael Sam was a virtual unknown, except perhaps to fans of American college football, who might have recognised him as a defensive end on the University of Missouri’s team, the Tigers. A good player, certainly, if not exceptional, and likely to join a professional National Football League team later this year.

But last week Sam added his name to the growing list of sportsmen and women who have come out: Gareth Thomas, Wales’s former rugby union captain; retired Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger; Surrey cricketer Steven Davies; Orlando Cruz, the Puerto Rican featherweight boxer; and basketball star Jason Collins.

But unlike many athletes, Sam chose to come out at the start of his career, and in a sport that is committed to displays of gladiatorial violence and machismo. “I’m Michael Sam, I’m a football player, and I’m gay,” he told the New York Times.

His announcement kicked off days of analysis. While NFL officials conceded privately that Sam is stepping into the unknown, their official reaction was unequivocal. “We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage,” a statement read. “Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL.”

Players past and present expressed support, and Michelle Obama described Sam as an inspiration. “We couldn’t be prouder of your courage both on and off the field,” she said. Bette Midler added: “Michael Sam must be one of the bravest players living.”

Celebrity endorsement is one thing: more difficult to gauge is how professional teams, due to draft players from colleges in the coming months, will react. It’s not clear that any team will want to take on a player who is likely to attract a media circus from the outset.

But, in his carefully staged outing, which included a lengthy account of his troubled upbringing in the scrubby town of Hitchcock on the coast of Texas, and was bolstered with endorsements from team owners, Sam has done enough to ensure that he won’t be ostracised – at least not in the short term.

His timing is also opportune. With gay rights issues overshadowing the Sochi Winter Olympics and Casey Stoney, the captain of England’s women’s football team, declaring herself gay last week, the sports world has found it can no longer confine the debate about the sexuality of its stars to the margins.

“It’s time,” declared the New York Times sports page. “No more stone-by-stone dismantling of a wall of discrimination by players who announce they are gay only after they have retired from the big leagues. There is no better moment than now to plough ahead and topple that wall with a bulldozer.”

In an interview in yesterday’s Times, Stoney agreed. She said her partner, Megan Harris, had persuaded her to come out after seeing the strength of support enjoyed by diver Tom Daley when he recently took to YouTube to announce that he was gay.

“Football speaks so many languages to so many different people, so if we can break down prejudices, that’s how it should be,” Stoney said. “You need to get to a point where you think it doesn’t matter what the outside world thinks. It’s about what you do on the pitch when you’re playing.”

She says she was surprised by the positive reaction, with Nick Clegg and Gary Lineker praising her decision. Likewise, Sam has been supported by owners and teams, including the New York Giants, and leading players. Seattle Seahawks linebacker Malcolm Smith, fresh from his team’s victory at the Super Bowl two weeks ago, tweeted: “There is no room for bigotry in American sports.”

But it is in the steam and sweat of the locker room, with its rites of male bonding, where Sam’s declaration has caused most anxiety. One coach told Sports Illustrated that Sam’s sexuality would be a distraction. “That’s the reality. It shouldn’t be, but it will be.”

Others dismissed that notion as ridiculous. “Seriously, the idea of mass showering is now an issue?” asked CBS sports columnist Jason La Canfora. “There is no way he will do anything to amplify what might be, for some, a potentially awkward showering dynamic at first, and it’s beyond condescending to suggest anything else.”

Nevertheless, coaches and league executives warn that Sam’s value as a player may drop following his announcement. They point to Jason Collins, the NBA player who hasn’t been signed since he came out last year.

Former New York Giants defensive back Terrell Thomas said Sam’s orientation would be a test the NFL may be unable to pass. “I know what he did is very courageous,” he said. “A lot of people wouldn’t do that, but at the same time no one really knows if the NFL is ready for it.” Another player told Sports Illustrated: “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point it’s still a man’s man game.”

But Sam is not unfamiliar with difficulty. He was the seventh of eight children. Three of his siblings are dead – one drowned, one shot during a gang initiation, the other missing since 1998 and presumed dead. Two others are in prison. At one point, Sam lived on the back seat of his mother’s car.

“It was very hard growing up in that environment,” he said. “My family was notorious where we lived. Everyone would say, ‘There go those damn Sams.’ I knew the good in my family. They didn’t know our background and the adversity we had to endure. I wanted to succeed and be a beacon of hope in my family. I knew from a young age that I was attracted to guys. I wanted to find who I was and make sure I knew what was comfortable. So I didn’t tell anyone growing up.”

When Sam told his father of his coming-out plan, Sam senior told the New York Times that his son was “old school … a man-and-a-woman type of guy”. He now claims he was misquoted. “He has made a great statement in coming out and that he should be able to play in the NFL,” he said. “Once he gets on the field and hits [opponents] once, they won’t think he’s gay.”

As a Jehovah’s Witness, his mother feared football would interfere with religion, but Sam says his calling was sport. “There were confrontations,” he says. “But I needed sports to make sure I couldn’t get into trouble, to make sure I didn’t do anything bad.”

Through school, coaches recognised Sam’s athleticism. If his sexuality was not quite public, it wasn’t hidden. In his final season as a college footballer he was named defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference. His teammates, who knew he was gay, named him their most valuable player. Their attitude reflects a growing trend in US colleges to challenge the biases of society. On campuses, a new generation is seeking to upend gender roles, refusing to be defined by sexuality.

Some believe Sam’s openness will benefit him. Team scouts typically perform intensive investigations on athletes. But since Sam’s background is now entirely public, his eligibility for the professional leagues will now rest on his performance.

At 6ft 2ins and 18 stone, he is not considered large enough to play his current position on a professional team. Still, given his skill and remarkable equanimity, scouts still expect Sam to be selected to join an NFL team – in effect, a new family.

“We often talk about how a team is a family,” said Steve Tisch, co-owner of the New York Giants. “Regardless of where you are from, what your religious beliefs are, what your sexual orientation is, if you’re good enough to be on the team, you’re part of the family.”

Having made the most courageous play of his career, Sam must now hope that spirit of solidarity holds good in the season to come. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Why is everyone so afraid of the NFL’s first openly gay star? | Wade Davis

Wade Davis: I was gay in the NFL and not ready to come out, but Michael Sam will fit right in. His courage already doesWade Davis


Mizzou coach: ‘Michael Sam’s decision will affect our society in a positive way’

University of Missouri Tigers head coach Gary Pinkel says Michael Sam’s decision to come out as gay will not damage his chances of playing in the NFL


Reaction to Michael Sam coming out is as much about race as homophobia | Michael P Jeffries

Michael Sam doesn’t conform to what the white dominated media and entertainment corporations are used to. It scares them

College football star Michael Sam came out as gay to his teammates at the University of Missouri in the summer of 2013. The team improved from a forgettable 5-7 win-loss record in 2012 to a national title contender. Sam’s teammate, Kentrell Brothers, exalted on Twitter:

Our coaches and players knew all along about this and noone said anything. Just show the amount of respect we have for our family.

— Kentrell Brothers✈✈ (@Kentrell_Mizzou) February 10, 2014

But when Sam came out as gay to the rest of the public yesterday, National Football League executives and coaches surveyed by Sports Illustrated were clear in their response: risky move. They said Sam’s announcement would mark him as a man on “a lonely path”, hurt his stock in the upcoming NFL Draft, and damage his chance to have a prosperous career. One executive said, “It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker and meeting room.”

Sam’s star is rising, and NFL executives’ skies are falling. How can the league’s gatekeepers be so deaf and blind to the evidence that Sam’s sexual orientation does not inhibit his play or damage his team? Why can’t they see Sam for what he is or read the situation correctly?

Part of the answer is, of course, the immense power of homophobia, which continues to sew injustice and insult across all sorts of workplaces and social situations. But the reaction to the NFL’s would-be first out gay player is about way more than that – it’s about the ways gender combines with race and class, the roles and stereotypes cast upon black men in America, and the peculiar position Michael Sam now occupies.

Sam is as a hybrid black male figure we have never seen in the pop-cultural arena built by white dominated media and entertainment corporations. He is a courageous and gracious gay black superman who rose from a poor background – his siblings have been in and out of jail, missing or dead – and is about to embark on a promising career of glorious and debilitating violence. His rise to stardom and coming-out render him both hypervisible, and, as Duke University Professor Mark Anthony Neal might suggest, “illegible”. This dissonance, rather than solely homophobia, explains the insanity uttered by those in the NFL who view Sam as a liability.

Sam is not the first openly gay professional athlete, nor is he the first openly gay black male professional athlete. Sports fans are familiar with basketball players Jason Collins, who came out last year, and John Amaechi, who came out in 2007. Both carved out lengthy, if unremarkable, careers in a highly macho sport dominated by African Americans. Though they were anomalies and their announcements were courageous and shocking to many, they did not cause panic among league power brokers.

There are several reasons for this. Collins and Amaechi (who came out after he retired) were no longer especially relevant or useful to the National Basketball Association when they came out. In addition, Collins and Amaechi had certain class backgrounds, education, and mannerisms. They fit into a racist logic of respectable bourgeois black masculinity that allows for athletic supremacy so long as those who possess it behave politely and refine their ferocious black manhood.

Collins was fortunate enough to have an economically comfortable childhood in the United States, capped with a degree from Stanford University. Amaechi rose from modest means in England, but developed his skill as a public speaker and mentor while completing his education as a player at Penn State University. Their masculine potency had been softened in the American imagination by their command of middle and upper class social customs. They had long since left behind the most legible racist stereotype of black masculinity: a violent thug.

We must never downplay Collins and Amaechi’s bravery or denigrate them for being well-educated and well-spoken. It was not a given that they would come out, and we owe them a great deal for the risks they took and the example they set. Collins, it should be noted, was actively trying to continue his career when he came out, and has not played since. Still, the markings of white-dominated bourgeois society they bear make them far more palatable to traditionalists and white consumers of black male performance.

Michael Sam will not fit in so easily. As a teammate of his reports, “He’s just a loud guy. Everybody knows when Michael Sam is in the building.” This sort of boastful black male loudness is a well-worn trope in black American entertainment. Before 9 February, Americans could easily imagine Michael Sam, or rather, we didn’t have to, because we knew plenty of others like him.

Sam traveled the most celebrated and legible path from black poverty to white acceptance and honorable manhood – that of the football or basketball star who channels his aggression and leverages it for achievement. The 7th of 8 children, Sam made it out of perilous surroundings in Hitchcock, Texas thanks to his talent, discipline and will to “be a man” and dominate others on the field. He also had help from friends and mentors. Such underdog stories are recognized and celebrated because they posit American Dream morality as the elixir for poverty and institutional racism. They make it easier for us to ignore all those who don’t make it.

The stereotype of black athletic superiority runs hand in hand with perceptions of African American athletes as dangerous. Because the danger has not been eradicated or truly reformed – only turned into athletic prowess – the public and our corporate and governmental representatives have to keep their eyes on black sports stars. And so, like Richard Sherman and countless other ghetto superstars-turned-sports-gods, Sam is afforded mainstream acceptance, but with the price of an “our way or the highway” oversight. Obviously, NFL coaches and executives are watching very closely, but their inability to read Sam reveals their foolishness. Sam now possesses power. He has made himself powerful despite economic neglect, racism, homophobia, and all the other forces he has battled as a young man.

We cannot romanticize Sam’s position. His talent and promise are such that he is a good bet to be on an NFL roster next season, but early reactions suggest this turn will not be boon for his early football career. He will be under heavy pressure to employ a politics of respectability and conservatism where his public image is concerned, especially given the recent repression of NFL players who speak out about gay rights.

But there are several powerful forces pushing Sam down a more radical path. He has personal earning power and economic value for potential employers because of his skill set. He enters a professional climate bubbling with reports that a group of active players are close to coming out together. Having claimed his gay identity, Sam stands as living proof that being out of the closet does not negatively impact one’s performance or undermine team chemistry.

Perhaps most hopefully, Michael Sam is a young black man, less than a decade removed from poverty and hardship, with access to memories and narratives that scarcely appear in books, articles, and television shows about LGBT people and politics. “I want to own my own truth,” he explained, “No one else should tell my story but me.” His claiming ownership is a gift to us all, and especially to other illegible children in Hitchcock, Texas who now know they can bring themselves beautifully, unrecognizably to life. © 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds


Michael Sam could slide down NFL draft after coming out, experts warn

Experts warn declaration of sexuality could hurt draft position but defensive end could be first openly gay player in leagueEd Pilkington