NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Los Angeles Rams coach Jeff Fisher on Thursday blasted a report that said his team drafted openly gay defensive end Michael Sam to avoid having to do HBO’s “Hard Knocks” series.
On Wednesday, Howard Balzer of the St. Louis radio station 590 The Fan, citing multiple sources, reported that the NFL and the then-St. Louis Rams agreed to a deal in which the team would not be forced to appear in the training camp reality series.
Balzer reported the NFL was concerned Sam wouldn’t be drafted, so a deal was made with the Rams.
Sam became the first openly gay player to be selected in the NFL draft when he was taken in the seventh round.
Fisher called Balzer’s report “absurd and 100 percent incorrect.”
“We had three seventh-round picks,” Fisher told ESPN Radio. “We drafted Michael, who was the best player on the board. And who in their right mind would think that you’d give up a draft choice to avoid doing something like that — something that I think would benefit the organization.”
The Rams will be the featured team on “Hard Knocks” this summer.
Sam was cut by the Rams before the beginning of the 2014 regular season. He was then signed to the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad, where he only lasted seven weeks.
He signed a deal with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 2015, but only played one game after leaving the team for mental health reasons.
Sam responded to Wednesday’s report on Twitter by saying, “I’m not surprised at all.”