Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jon Hamm Reflects on Draft of Michael Sam and What It Means

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Jon Hamm Reflects on Draft of Michael Sam and What It Means

Article excerpt

PITTSBURGH * A Mizzou alum and self-confessed "proud Tiger," St. Louis native Jon Hamm watched the final half dozen games of the 2013 football season and couldn't help but notice an echo every time the Tigers were on defense.

"How many times did you hear this name called? 'Michael Sam. Michael Sam. Michael Sam. Michael Sam,' " the "Mad Men" star said Sunday. "Geez, this guy is everywhere."

This past weekend he listened for the name again.

Although everywhere in a Mizzou game, the name wasn't anywhere until the 249th overall pick of the NFL Draft, when the Rams selected Sam, a defensive end and the first openly gay player to enter the NFL. Hamm said he saw video of Sam's tearful reaction to being drafted in the seventh round and felt the pick by his hometown team was "a good fit" and far more than a step forward for sports.

"I'm very happy that he landed with the Rams. I cannot believe that a guy with that much talent and that much upside fell that far in the draft, and I think we all know why," Hamm told the Post- Dispatch. "The message at the end of the day when you distill it all down it was pretty positive. As a culture, as a society, and as a sports culture I think we've taken a pretty nice quantum leap to where that kind of thing is understood and not just treated like an immediate, knee-jerk macho (crud). It was very nice to see that, and it was especially nice to see how that (Mizzou) team was like, 'Sorry, if you don't like it; tough. He's our guy.'"

On the eve of returning to film the final episodes of "Mad Men," Hamm visited Pittsburgh and PNC Park on Sunday to promote his new movie, "Million Dollar Arm."

The movie is inspired by the true story of agent J.B. Bernstein, who organized a reality television show in India to find pitching talent and was able to get two young talents, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel, minor-league contracts with the Pirates. Hamm plays Bernstein in the movie, which opens in theaters Friday. Known for attending his beloved Cardinals' games with a worn cap and a full beard, he told reporters on the field before Sunday's game against the Pirates at PNC Park that he was drawn to the part by a fondness for baseball. …

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