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. But experts say the smart approach for a team that signs the leagues first openly gay athlete -- from a marketing and public relations standpoint -- is to simply let Sams on-field play speak for him and his team. "While this is a significant announcement given the sport, the general hope is that hes just accepted as one of the other men on the roster, and therefore his marketability is still simply tied to his ability to play well on the field and ultimately make the team," said Paul Swangard, managing director of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon. Sam declared Sunday that he is gay in interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports. The Missouri All-American had already come out last August to his coaches and teammates, who respected his privacy. Now Sam is entering uncharted territory as he prepares for the NFL draft. The SECs co-defensive player of the year was projected to be a mid-round selection. At 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, Sam will likely have to transition to outside linebacker, which could impact where hes drafted. But announcing hes gay could also have an impact on his draft status. "Im not naive to think there arent potentially some owners or executives out there who will say, Eh, Im not so sure now." said Golden State Warriors President and Chief of Operations Rick Welts, who came out publicly in 2011. "But also, I hope, there are a lot who would say, Theres an opportunity to do something that I think our fans would actually embrace. And if were supposed to win football games, if this guy helps us win football games, thats somebody we should have on our roster." Sam, 24, joins a growing list of active athletes to publicly come out, including Robbie Rogers, a winger for Major League Soccers Los Angeles Galaxy, and Brittney Griner, who plays for the WNBAs Phoenix Mercury. Conner Mertens, a kicker for Division III Willamette University, came out as bisexual late last month, and is believed to have been the first active college football player to publicly announce his sexuality. Griner, as one of the WNBAs brightest stars, was the centerpiece of the Mercurys marketing campaign. She also made a point of supporting causes that are important to her. "There was nothing about her that was difficult in marketing. We supported what she wanted to do with bullying and the LGBT community. We made those connecting points," said Amber Cox, president of the Mercury before leaving to go to the Big East last fall. Nike has also thrown support to LGBT athletes, signing both Griner and Jason Collins, a former NBA player who came out last year, to sponsorship deals, and launching its "Be True" campaign. Profits from the .BeTrue collection are being donated to the LGBT Sports Coalition to support the goal of ending discrimination in sport. Mark Elderkin of the Gay Ad Network, an online media platform for national advertisers, said NFL teams need only look at Sams track record. "Theyre going to make their choices based on who the best college athletes are. And theyre going to choose Michael if they deem him the best pick. So, I think they need to focus on the facts, and his performance over the years, his All-America status and everything hes done for Missouri," Elderkin said. "Also his relationships with the fans, and with the positive energy he has around his teammates and their full support, shows that hes not going to be disruptive to the team in any way, but is going to add value." But its still a reality that gay athletes face a backlash. Derogatory comments were easily found among the positive posts on social media and other online commentary following Sams announcement. A Pew Research survey last year of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults in the U.S. found that just 4 per cent saw pro sports leagues as friendly toward LGBT people, while 59 per cent saw the leagues as unfriendly and 36 per cent saw them as neutral. Still, even over the past year there have been significant overall victories in gay and lesbian rights, most notably two U.S. Supreme Court decisions in June. One ruling cleared the way for ending a ban on same-sex marriages in California; the other struck down a 1996 law passed by Congress that banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages. It remains to be seen how growing tolerance extends to the NFL playing field. "I think the point thats being made in a lot of the discussion is, Lets just move on," Swangard said. "If the guy makes a team, then he makes the team. His sexual orientation shouldnt be the story." Dak Prescott Cowboys Jersey
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. Pioli was director of player personnel for the New England Patriots from 2000-08, including six seasons with Dimitroff, who directed college scouting.PITTSBURGH -- Ike Davis wasnt able to play meaningful late-season games during his time with the New York Mets. Hes making the most of his chance with the Pittsburgh Pirates. "Its the first time hes been involved in games that have this kind of significance this late in the season," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Wednesday after Davis long home run keyed a 3-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. "Hes showing up to the ballpark ready contribute any way he can." Davis hit a two-run drive off a speaker above the seats in right-centre field in the second inning. A day earlier, Davis had a pinch-hit, tiebreaking, three-run homer in the eighth inning of Pittsburghs 5-2 win. Davis arrived in the major leagues with the New York Mets in 2010 and was traded to Pittsburgh in April. The Mets finished with losing records in all of his seasons in New York. "Its hard when youre mathematically eliminated, Davis said. "You hit a home run and its a great feeling still, but its kind of like it didnt really matter. If youre still in it, it definitely feels a little sweeter." Davis hit his 10th homer after Adam Wainwright (15-9) plunked Russell Martin on the left elbow with a pitch that Martin barely tried to avoid. Davis sent an 88 mph cutter clanking off a speaker raised on a pole, about 15 feet above the seats, a drive estimated at about 433 feet. "I just got the barrel on it," Davis said. "It just carried out today." Wainwright knew he made a mistake when he saw where his pitch was headed. "I threw it right into Ikes swing path, and he made a good swing on it," Wainwright said. "I wanted to get the pitch higher, but I got it and down and in, and thats a left-handed hitters honey spot right there." Davis also had an inning-ending lineout that left the bases loaded in the fifth. Pittsburgh took two of three from the defending NL champions and has won five of seven overall. St. Louis (71-61) leads the NL wild-card race, with San Francisco (69-62) trailing by 1 1/2 games and the Pirates (69-64) one game back of the Giants for the second wild-card berth. Jeff Locke (6-3) allowed one run and six hits in 7 1-3 innings, giving up Matt Hollidays third-inning homer. Locke also singled in tthe third and scored on Andrew McCutchens sacrifice fly, just the 11th hit for the pitcher in 98 career at-bats. Devin Street Jersey
. Mark Melancon pitched a one-hit ninth for his 24th save in 28 chances. Locke escaped trouble in the third, stranding Daniel Descalso on third when Josh Harrison made a diving stop on Randal Grichuks two-out grounder down the line and threw to first Wainwright allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings. He gave up five runs to Philadelphia on Aug. 22 and has gone winless in consecutive starts for just the second time this season. "Youre not going to be at your best all time," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "Right now, hes not at his best, but he showed some good signs today." TRAINERS ROOM Cardinals: C Yadier Molina was to begin an injury rehab assignment and catch five innings for Double-A Springfield on Wednesday and could return to the Cardinals on Friday. He has been on the 15-day DL since July 10 because of a torn ligament in his right thumb. ... RHP Michael Wacha was to throw a batting practice session before Springfields game Wednesday. A right shoulder stress reaction landed Wacha on the DL on June 18. Pirates: 3B Pedro Alvarez was out of the lineup, a day after he was removed from a game due to left foot discomfort. Alvarez left PNC Park with a walking boot on his foot after Tuesdays game and was seen wearing the boot in the clubhouse Wednesday. ON DECK Cardinals: St. Louis opens a three-game series at home Friday against the Chicago Cubs. RHP Shelby Miller (8-9, 4.26 ERA) is slated to start against Chicago LHP Felix Doubront (2-4, 6.07 ERA). Pirates: Pittsburgh is off Thursday before the Pirates continue their six-game homestand against the Cincinnati Reds. RHP Edinson Volquez (11-7, 3.56 ERA) starts the opener against his former team and RHP Mike Leake (10-11, 3.51 ERA). GAMECHANGER Pittsburgh centerfielder Andrew McCutchen was in the lineup, a day after he was removed from a game because of discomfort in the same area of his ribs that caused him to go on the 15-day DL earlier this month. McCutchen finished 1 for 3 with a RBI. "Were always going to be a better team with him in the lineup," Hurdle said. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys China
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