Michael Sam and the Montreal Alouettes are Amazing!

I get choked up thinking about it because what Michael Sam has been through, his courage and determination to be a trailblazer in American football has paid off – the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL have signed Sam to a 2-year deal. What is the NFL’s loss, is the CFL’s gain!

Being openly gay in sport is still very much taboo, and considering how machismo American football is it will take the NFL a long time to deal with its sexism, misogyny, homophobia and all-around bad judgment. But this post isn’t about the NFL, it’s about Michael Sam.

Sam will bring a whole new audience to the CFL – I, for one, am looking to buy tickets to see him play. And he is really good at what he does. Check out the fantastic coverage from CBC where Sam talks about “focusing on football and not making history as CFL’s 1st openly gay player”. Well done CFL! I rarely say/write this, but this week I am so proud to be Canadian!

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Hot Docs Special Presentation: Out to Win

Movie description provided by Hot Docs: Sports have the power to reflect and define our cultural identity and shape gender roles. When Michael Sam was drafted to the NFL in 2014, it was a groundbreaking event that blew the closet doors wide open on the challenges faced by professional LGBT athletes around the globe. From pioneers like tennis champions Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King to tomorrow’s superstars, Out to Win chronicles the history of LGBT in sports through perspectives of athletes, coaches, agents, fans and—perhaps most importantly—the media. The personal stories of trailblazers who openly share the sacrifices and conflicts that consumed their professional aspirations give context to present-day athletes whose private lives are increasingly scrutinized in our celebrity-focused culture. Filmmaker Malcolm Ingram connects these generations through the groundbreaking work of advocacy organizations and leaders like Jason Collins who have positively and permanently transformed the professional sports landscape, courts and fields.

This timely and important documentary is being screened at the festival on April 29, May 1 and May 2. Check it out, and go see some of the others they have in store too. Yay! to another year of Hot Docs.

The Out Field: Gay Athletes Talk About Pro Sports

Came across this video today that was put together by People Magazine. Athletes featured (in order of appearance): Michael Sam (Gridiron Football), Wade Davis II (Gridiron Football), Billy Bean (Baseball), Brittney Griner (Basketball), Lianne Sanderson (Soccer), and Joanna Lohman (Soccer).

The video was published in May 2014, on the heels of Michael Sam‘s historic draft into the NFL by the St. Louis Rams. Since then, Sam has been released by the Rams and is currently on the practice squad for the Dallas Cowboys. Wade Davis II is the Executive Director of the You Can Play Project, Billy Bean retired from baseball in 1995 and in July 2014 was hired by the MLB as an ambassador for inclusion, Brittney Griner was the #1 WBNA Draft Pick in 2013 and recently won the 2014 WNBA Championship with the Phoenix Mercury, and Lianne Sanderson and Joanna Lohman both play professional soccer in the National Women’s Soccer League for the Boston Breakers (and are a couple!). They founded JoLi Academy and are a part of the GO! Athletes Network.