EARTH CITY, MO (KPLR)- Welcome to the NFL. On Tuesday, the St. Louis Rams held news conferences for their 2014 NFL Draft picks at Rams Park. Each of the players was introduced with their fellow draft day picks.
The potential new St. Louis Rams include first-round picks Greg Robinson, an Offensive Lineman, and Defensive Tackle Aaron Donald. The Rams picked Defensive Back Lamarcus Joyner in the second round, Running Back Tre Mason third-round, and Safety Maurice Alexander in the fourth-round. The Rams chose Corner Back E.J. Gaines and Quaterback Garrett Gilbert in the sixth round. The teams’ seventh-round picks were Tackel Mitchell Van Dyk, Safety Christian Bryant, Defensive End Michael Sam, and Offensive Lineman Demetrius Rhaney
Much of the buzz at the media availability was around Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team. The Mizzou alum said he would feel at home with the Rams, playing just two hours from Columbia, MO.
The media presence at Rams Park for Michael Sam’s first appearance was unprecedented according to most watchers. Crews from news networks like CNN joined a crush of national sports media to cover a story that clearly transcends football.
Rams Chief Operating Officer, Kevin Demoff, was taking photos of the throng of satellite trucks with his cell phone Tuesday afternoon. It was a clear sign what was happening was not normal. But Demoff says that word’s meaning will be different around here for a while.
“I don’t think there is such a thing as normalcy,” he said. “When you make a draft pick, certainly when you make a draft pick like Michael Sam, you change what normal is. You change what the day to day is going to be.”
Even reporters who cover big events regularly saw this as different. Bob Holtzman of ESPN said this was an easy assignment to get up for.
“I’ve got to be honest. I was excited to come here today because this is something different and historic and unique.”
He said even his family saw this a little differently.
“My wife is well aware of Michael Sam, and she doesn’t know anything about sports,” he said. “So it’s not surprising you see CNN and NBC news and some of these other entities here that wouldn’t normally cover sports but that’s what this is. It’s a historic event.”
How long it remains a media event remains to be seen according to Demoff.
“We’ll wake up tomorrow morning and see what the story is, and then we’ll see the reality. How long this goes on and how quickly it transitions from the press conference, the draft pick, to Michael Sam the football player will underscore what we’re really dealing with in terms of how long this story attracts insane attention.”