BY: John Mamola
The sporting world was turned on it's ear late Sunday night with the revelation by Missouri All American Michael Sam saying he will be the first openly gay football player to play in the NFL. With the news, social media blew up with reaction from those around the National Football League.
Hats off to you Michael Sam, that takes some guts #respect— Jonathan A. Martin (@J_Martin71) February 10, 2014
Good for Michael Sam. Takes courage for where he is in his career and where we are as a league. I applaud him.— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) February 10, 2014
Had multiple convos with @MikeSamFootball this year, amazed at his honesty & courage! Once a tiger, ALWAYS a Tiger!— Chase Daniel (@ChaseDaniel) February 10, 2014
Good for him RT @nfldraftscout: I'm amazed at your courage, Michael Sam. The NFL will have an active gay player. It's about time.— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) February 10, 2014
I could care less about a man's sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!— DeAngelo Williams (@DeAngeloRB) February 10, 2014
There is no room for bigotry in American sports. It takes courage to change the culture.— Malcolm Smith (@MalcSmitty) February 10, 2014
Michael Sam much respect. #Salute— Kirk Morrison (@kirkmorrison) February 10, 2014
the problems michael sam will face won’t really come from the locker room. it’ll be from the public. hope we don’t embarrass ourselves.— Bomani Jones (@bomani_jones) February 10, 2014
Our statement on Michael Sam: We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. Michael is a football player...more— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) February 10, 2014
...Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.— Greg Aiello (@gregaiello) February 10, 2014
Let me break it down for everyone. A lot of people are mad because I said there goes the nFL. I say that because now this young man is— patrick crayton (@pcrayton12) February 10, 2014
To get all the wrong attention for his sexual choice and a lot of players and execs will get asked about playing with a gay guy and they are— patrick crayton (@pcrayton12) February 10, 2014
Going to have to lie about how they really feel. This young man will come in with notoriety for announcing his sexual choice more then his— patrick crayton (@pcrayton12) February 10, 2014
Ability to play the game he loves!!! This will be a major thing in football for yrs to come. So for all u guys cussing at me and calling me— patrick crayton (@pcrayton12) February 10, 2014
A bigot, ass hole or whatever, know where TF I'm coming from before u do what u hate others to do when a situation like this is announced!!— patrick crayton (@pcrayton12) February 10, 2014
Now go enjoy ur life or u can make urself feel better by calling me names. But yet if it happens to u, u can't handle it!!!— patrick crayton (@pcrayton12) February 10, 2014
Michael Sam isn't the 1st gay player in the NFL although he is the 1st 2 come out.#realtalk Let's show him love like a family member. Truth— DeionSanders (@DeionSanders) February 10, 2014
No comment but it can be a distraction in the locker room. At least he's open with it much respect!— Agent 29 (@DraytonFlorence) February 10, 2014
Tom Jones was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English at the University of South Florida from 1982 to 1986.
He began his writing career with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1985. He then went on to work for the St. Petersburg Times from 1987 to 1991, the Tampa Tribune from 1991 to 1996, the St. Petersburg Times again from 1996 to 2000 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 2000 to 2003. He then rejoined the St. Petersburg Times for a third time in his career in 2003, where he worked ever since.
Jones has spent most of his career covering the NHL, including being a beat writer for more than 15 years of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota. Wild. He also spent two years on the Tampa Bay Rays beat. He then become a columnist at Times starting in 2007. Jones has won several national and state writing awards, including a top 10 game story in the nation in 1998 as named by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Over the course of his career, Jones has covered the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, baseball and hockey all-star games, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Frozen Four.
Jones lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Patty, and sons, Sam and Andy.
With over two decades of reporting on professional and collegiate sports for the Tampa Bay Times, through performance and work experience in journalism and broadcasting in television and radio, Rick Stroud has cultivated an impressive list of sources and utilized his knowledge to produce an outstanding body of work in both print and electronic mediums.
During his career, Stroud has reported on national sporting events including 22 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroudâ€™s stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. The stories for which Stroud won second place for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors, led to sanctions against both Gators programs.
Since 2004, Stroud has appeared as an NFL Insider for ESPN2â€™s First Take and is a regular contributor to ESPNâ€™s SportsCenter, NFL Live, Outside the Lines and Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to NFL Networkâ€™s Total Access.
Stroud becan covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in 1990. Since then, the Bucs have undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum. They also celebrated a Super Bowl XXVII victory. His reporting was referenced in Tony Dungyâ€™s best seller, Quiet Strength, particularly because it was Stroud who informed Dungy of the Bucsâ€™ plan to replace him with Giants Super Bowl coach Bill Parcells.
A former Div. I-A baseball player at Arkansas , Stroud brings a unique perspective to sports reporting. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he also served as one of the Timesâ€™ beat writers responsible for covering the Tampa Bay Rays.