As they know, Sam was eventually drafted, in the last round by the Rams.But I know what they meant. You would think the SEC Defensive Player of the Year should be a high-round NFL pick, so that the only reason he fell so far was that NFL teams feared signing a gay player.
But that is itself a prejudicial view. A simpler explanation exists: Sam couldn't play in the NFL.
Remember that in 1995 and '96, Northwestern linebacker Pat Fitzgerald was two-time national Defensive Player of the Year. He didn't fall in the draft; he went undrafted and never played a down in the NFL.
Fitzgerald was a great college player, but not a good enough athlete for the NFL. Lots of college players use their smarts to become great at that level; a high school classmate of mine was all-Big Ten at corner and then safety, and led the conference in interceptions twice. He never got any interest from NFL scouts.
Coaches and General Managers are loathe to reject a player they believe will help them win games. Only poorly-run teams, if any, were scared off by Sam. Because if Michael Sam could play in the NFL, even as a situational player, he'd be on the Seahawks or Patriots roster today.
It therefore does Sam a disservice to suggest that he's out of the NFL because he's openly gay. In fact, it is a tribute to his intelligence and hard work that he became such a great college player despite his athletic limitations.
Like Fitzgerald, he should get into coaching.