In an obvious play for publicity, WWE invited NFL free agent Michael Sam to next week's episode of Monday Night Raw in Baltimore, Maryland during last night's edition of the show. Here's the video of the invite:
Michael Cole: "And as of tonight, Michael Sam, cut by the St. Louis Rams, hasn't been signed yet by another team or hasn't even been picked up by a practice squad yet."
JBL: "Michael, I'm a huge football fan, this young man has an incredible story. The former SEC player of the year, the toughest conference in college football. I cannot understand why he is not somewhere in the NFL, at least on a practice squad."
Jerry Lawler: "Well let me tell you guys this: If he chooses to accept our invitation, next week live on Raw we're going to give Michael Sam an open microphone to tell his side of the story."
JBL: "I would love to hear what he has to say."
If you're wondering what Michael Sam or his story has to do with WWE the answer is "nothing". There is no obvious connection here.
Jim Ross tweeted saying what everyone was already thinking:
Sam is a hot button topic in sports right now because he was hoping to become the first openly gay football player to make an NFL roster by opening day. He was drafted by the Rams in the seventh round but was cut just a number of days ago and, as mentioned previously, he hasn't caught on with a practice squad.
Sam coming out has been a much bigger deal in the mainstream press than Darren Young when he did the same just over one year ago. That has more to do with the fact that the NFL is the most popular sport in America, by far, and the 24 hour news cycle, coupled with programming like ESPN's First Take going as far as outright trolling for ratings, has kept Sam consistently gracing headlines. That's never been more true than the last few days while his future is up in the air following his being cut by the Rams.
This is just WWE hoping to snag a piece of the pie while it's still fresh.
We'll see if it pays off.