Gruden fallout: Fisher says St. Louis wasn’t pressured to draft Michael Sam


FILE – In this May 13, 2014 file photo, St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick Michael Sam, right, speaks during a news conference as head coach Jeff Fisher listens at the NFL football team’s practice facility in St. Louis. The head of an advocacy group for gay and lesbian athletes helped the Rams prepare for the arrival of Sam. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

ST. LOUIS- One day after Las Vegas Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden resigned over leaked emails containing controversial language, former St. Louis Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher is speaking out about another leaked email, which suggested the NFL pressured the Rams to draft former University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam.

The New York Times reports that Gruden wrote former Washington Redskins executive Bruce Allen and said NFL Commissioner Roger “Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, a gay player chosen by the team in 2014.

The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times reported that, from 2011-18 while he was an ESPN analyst between coaching jobs, Gruden used racist, misogynistic and homophobic language directed at union chief DeMaurice Smith, Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in around the NFL in written exchanges with former Washington executive Bruce Allen.

Fisher, the Head Coach of the Rams when Sam was drafted in 2014, shared on Twitter Tuesday night that Sam, who came out as the first openly-gay draft-eligible player, was chosen because of his on-field production and that sexual orientation “would never-should never-play a part in the decision-making process.”

The NFL is not planning to make public any of the hundreds of thousands of emails it obtained as part of an investigation of the Washington Football Club, some of which led to Gruden’s resignation Monday night.

“Based on the material that we have reviewed, we haven’t identified anything that needed to be reported to club or league leadership,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “We have released no emails during this process.”

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