Former Rams head coach Jeff Fisher has responded to Jon Gruden's homophobic remarks about former Rams prospect Michael Sam, who in 2014 became the league's first openly gay player to be drafted.
Gruden, in one section of the series of bigoted emails he sent to former Washington Football Team general manager Bruce Allen, uses a slur in reference to Sam and suggests Fisher was "pressured" to draft him by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
Fisher, who last coached in the NFL with the Rams, took to social media on Tuesday to fire back at Gruden's crude and conspiratorial assessment of the Sam situation.
"Michael Sam was the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, and we selected him in the 2014 NFL Draft based on his defensive production and pass rushing skill set on the field," Fisher said.
"As a head coach for over 20 years, we drafted or didn't draft, players based on a variety of qualities. Their sexual orientation would never -- and should never -- play a part in the decision-making process.
"I continue to support Michael, and his decision to come out as the first draft-eligible openly gay player in the league. It took courage to serve as a role model for those competitive football players who may also happen to be gay."
Fisher closed by denying that the NFL had ever influenced a draft pick one way or the other.
Sam made history when the Rams drafted him in the 7th round in 2014, weeks after he came out during the pre-draft process. He later revealed he had come out to his college teammates during his decorated senior season, and said they were overwhelmingly supportive.
Sam's game didn't exactly translate to the pro ranks, where he didn't seem to have the size to compete as an edge rusher. The Rams cut him late in his first training camp, and he later had a brief stint on the Cowboys practice squad. The next season, he became the first openly gay player in the history of the Canadian Football League.
The Rams relocated to Los Angeles after 2015, and Fisher was dismissed as head coach toward the end of their first season there.
The NFL has since seen its first openly gay active player, who ironically enough came out while playing for Gruden's Raiders.