Rams drafted NFL's first black player, and its first openly gay player

Kenny Washington played 3 years with the Rams - NFL

The Rams franchise in Los Angeles signed Kenny Washington in 1946 and the St. Louis franchise continues the tradition.

The Rams franchise in the NFL likes to make social history. Yesterday, the St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in league history.

What few people know is that in 1946, the Los Angeles Rams signed Kenny Washington, the first African American player in the league's modern era. This occurred one year before after the Brooklyn Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson. St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher alluded to Washington when he talked about the historic nature of drafting Sam.

"People will try to make it a distraction, but it's not a distraction," Fisher said at a news conference. "I'm personally proud of him for coming out. I'm sure it was a very difficult thing for him to do.

"I would also submit it was probably a tremendous load off of his shoulders, and he enjoyed a sense of relief, because the truth was out there, and he was accepted by his [University of Missouri] teammates, and was able to flourish and be part of an outstanding defense."

Fisher joked that he had never talked to a seventh-round pick on draft day before, but then again Sam might be the first seventh-rounder to get a shoutout from the President.

Congratulations to the Rams for breaking another barrier. If a woman ever gets a shot in the NFL, you can bet the Rams will be the franchise to do it, regardless of where they're located.

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