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Mayor of Ferguson

The STL Rams Could Heal Our City

3/21/2015 12:45 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF


The Mayor of Ferguson tells TMZ Sports the St. Louis Rams could play a HUGE role in helping the city heal in the wake of the recent civil unrest ... and it all starts with a playground. 

Here's the deal ... each year the Rams provide money and manpower to build a brand new state-of-the-art jungle gym for one lucky community in the area. 

This year, Rams legend Aeneas Williams -- a community leader in Ferguson -- is lobbying for the team to choose his city ... claiming it could be the catalyst for positive change the area so desperately needs. 

We spoke with Mayor James Knowles who says, "To have the Rams take an interest, for them to potentially come build this for us, it's not just some construction group. It's our local football team. It would mean so much."

He adds, "It would have a huge psychological and emotional impact."

The Mayor says he likes the city's chances of being selected by the NFL team -- and praises Williams for leading the charge. 

"To have one of the best players to ever play the game. a high profile person like Pastor Aeneas Williams, who's done so much for the community, take an interest in Ferguson ... it means a lot."

Michael Sam

Praised By Rams Player

'He Should Be On NFL Roster'

12/30/2014 6:26 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF


The man who beat out Michael Sam for a spot on the St. Louis Rams tells TMZ Sports ... Sam "definitely" has NFL talent and strongly believes he should be on a roster. 

We spoke with defensive end Ethan Westbrooks ... who ultimately won a roster spot over Sam during training camp.  Sam's competition with Ethan was one of the featured storylines in Sam's OWN Network documentary. 

"We both had an opportunity to show who can help the team more and show we belong," Westbrooks says ... "I was just more of a fit for the current direction the team wanted to go in."

Westbrooks says Sam was a "great teammate" during camp -- and they continued their friendship even after Sam was cut.  

Which is why Ethan says he got so upset with several Twitter cowards who made homophobic comments to him about Sam on Twitter during camp. 

"It got to a point I had to delete the app from my phone and just focus on the game."

As for Sam's future, Westbrooks tells us ... "The NFL is hard man. I wish him the best and hope nothing but the best for him."


ST. Louis Rams Star

'Hands Up' Was Surprise To Me

But I'm Glad Teammates Did It

12/3/2014 12:45 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
St. Louis Rams safety Rodney McLeod tell TMZ Sports the majority of the Rams had no idea 5 players were planning on doing the "Hands Up" tribute before Sunday's game ... but says he respects 'em for doing it.

"Nobody knew about it," McLeod says ... noting that it seemed like something the wide receivers worked out the plan amongst themselves in the moments before they ran out of the tunnel.

"It speaks to the character of those guys to stand up and do that in front of the country."

So how did the tribute go over in the locker room? "No tension at all," McLeod says ... "[the other players on the team] realized [the wide receivers] didn't mean any harm."

McLeod says the team has remained tight in the days following the incident -- "It's one of the strongest locker rooms I have ever been in. Our whole team is tight. Our locker room is even tighter."

The 24-year-old acknowledged that not everyone feels the same way about the Mike Brown case -- but says, "We all respect and support each other through it."

Al Sharpton


Every Athlete Should Follow Their Lead

12/2/2014 7:52 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
120214_al_sharpton_launchAl Sharpton says he "respects and admires" the St. Louis Rams players who did the "Hands Up" tribute to Mike Brown before Sunday's game ... and is calling on ALL ATHLETES to follow their lead.

"I think that they have a right to do it and it was much appreciated," Sharpton told us. 

Of course, the Rams have come under fire from the St. Louis Police Officers Association -- which demanded an apology ... saying the players ignored "mountains of evidence" in the case and offended cops around the country.

But Sharpton doesn't see it that way -- telling TMZ Sports, "I think to criticize people for expressing themselves is against what America ought to be about."

Eric Dickerson

The Rams Should Move Back to Los Angeles

10/23/2014 6:57 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Sorry St. Louis ... the Rams BELONG in Los Angeles -- so says Rams legend Eric Dickerson, who tells TMZ Sports he thinks it would be "fantastic" if his old squad packs up and heads west.

Of course, Dickerson played for the L.A. Rams from 1983 to '87 -- 7 years before they left for St. Louis -- but the NFL Hall of Famer says the Blue and Gold is an L.A. team at heart.

But he feels just as strong about the Raiders -- telling us that team needs to STAY IN OAKLAND!

It's a great clip -- Eric also explains why he feels bad for the people in the Black Hole.

Terry Crews


... When I Played for the Rams

10/10/2014 7:13 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine" star Terry Crews tells TMZ Sports ... back when he used to play for the L.A. Rams, the Raiders fans hated his team so much, they THREATENED his wife and family. 

Crews -- a former NFL linebacker -- played for the Rams back in 1991 ... back before the Raiders ditched L.A. and moved back to Oakland. 

And last night in L.A., Crews told us some of the more insane fans of the Silver and Black took the rivalry so seriously, they threatened his wife and family. 

It's pretty crazy stuff -- but Terry tells us it's not the Raiders fans that people need to worry about these days ... there's ANOTHER team in the Bay Area that's even scarier. 

Check out the clip.

St. Louis Rams Punter

The White(er) Michael Jackson

9/23/2014 9:11 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Question: What's black and white and red all over?
Answer: St. Louis Rams punter Johnny Hekker doing his Michael Jackson impression. 

Hekker and linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar co-hosted the team's first ever Ram-Oke event at the 4 Seasons hotel in St. Louis Monday night -- benefiting their Kick Cancer initiative (nice work, fellas). 

But the highlight of the event had to be when the gang dialed up Michael Jackson's "Thriller" -- and Hekker busted out the zombie dance.


Harry Styles

Rocks Michael Sam Jersey

... At St. Louis Concert

8/28/2014 10:47 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
0828_harry_styles_michael_sam_twitterMichael Sam is getting support from one of the biggest pop stars in the world -- Harry Styles ... who rocked the football player's jersey during a One Direction concert in St. Louis yesterday. 

Harry threw on a #96 St. Louis Rams jersey with Sam's name across the back during the a performance at Edward Jones Dome ... where the Rams play. 

It's an interesting move for Styles -- whose bandmate Liam Payne came under fire for his support for the "Duck Dynasty" guys after the reality stars came out against gay marriage. 

Sam has had a helluva week -- not only with teammates rallying behind him after ESPN ran a story about his locker room showering habits ... but he also survived the 1st round of cuts.

Michael Sam

ESPN Apologizes for Shower Coverage

8/27/2014 9:11 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news

ESPN has issued an apology for a report which covered the locker room showering habits of Michael Sam

The network came under fire yesterday after Josina Anderson went on the air and reported on her discussions with multiple Rams players about how Sam is conducting himself in the locker room. 

In her report, Anderson said ... "Another Rams defensive player told me that ‘Sam is respecting our space’ and that, from his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is kind of waiting to take a shower, as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable."

Now, after several people -- including Rams star Chris Long -- went after the network, ESPN has issued an apology ... saying:

"ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report. Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports." 

So far, Sam has yet to comment on the situation. 

Michael Sam

Strikes Reality Show Deal

... With Oprah

5/14/2014 3:34 PM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news
Michael Sam Reality ShowMichael Sam is getting the Lindsay Lohan treatment ... as in, the openly gay football player is getting his own reality show on Oprah's TV network ... reps at OWN confirm. 

The show -- produced by the same people who did Lindsay's show -- will chronicle Sam's journey into the NFL ... and we're told Sam has already been taping the show for weeks. 

In fact, we're told Oprah's crew was in the room when Sam learned he had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams ... and clearly knew his big celebratory kiss with his BF would make for great reality television. 

Oprah issued a statement saying, "We are honored that Michael is trusting us with his private journey in this moment that has not only made history but will shape it forever."

Unclear when the series is set to debut -- or how the Rams feel about the situation.

Kevin Durant & Friends

Call 13-Year-Old After Brain Surgery

Get Well Soon!!

2/18/2014 1:00 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF
0217_micka_tmz_wmA 13-year-old boy got one heck of a birthday surprise after emerging from brain surgery last week ... when his phone rang and 3 HUGE STARS were on the line to wish him a speedy recovery.

TMZ Sports has learned ... Kevin Durant, actor Kevin Hart and NFL star Tavon Austin called up 13-year-old Mikka on Thursday after learning about the brave boy's battle with a brain condition.

We spoke to Mikka's dad who tells us, "Before they called, his energy level was low ... but those guys really picked him up. They actually brought a smile to his face."

He adds, "Mikka didn't believe it. When Kevin Durant called I said, 'It's really K.D.'"

"All three guys told him to be strong and they wished him a happy birthday."

Tavon tells TMZ Sports ... "I was happy to call Mikka when I found out he was having major surgery. He's my family (cousins). I watched Mikka as an infant. He's a tough kid."

Mikka's dad says ... Mikka was released from a Maryland hospital on Sunday -- and says, "He can't wait to go to school and tell all of his friends!"


Deacon Jones

Dead at 74

6/4/2013 3:38 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
breaking news
Deacon Jones ... one of the greatest football players in the history of the game -- is dead.

Jones -- a member of the L.A. Rams Fearsome Foursome from 1961 to 1971 -- died at his home in So. Cal. at age 74.

Deacon revolutionized the way defensive ends played the game -- not only creating his famous "head slap" technique, but he's also responsible for the term "sack" because of the way he destroyed quarterbacks.

Jones was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.

Deacon also dabbled in TV and movies.  He had guest-starring roles on "The Brady Bunch" and "Bewitched."  He was also in the movie, "Heaven Can Wait."

Jones died of natural causes.



Looks to Stuff the Rush


10/12/2009 10:00 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF
Al Sharpton is playing some serious defense for the St. Louis Rams -- The Rev has launched an all-out blitz to keep Rush Limbaugh from buying the NFL franchise.

In the wake of several reports that Limbaugh is serious about becoming an NFL owner, Sharpton fired off a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, begging the football honcho to reject Rush from the league.

In the letter, Sharpton tells Goodell, "Rush Limbaugh has been divisive and anti-NFL on several occasions with comments about NFL Players including Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb."

In 2003, Limbaugh famously argued that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb was getting special treatment in the press because the media wanted to see a black quarterback succeed.

But in his letter, Sharpton brought up another Rush-centric controversy, adding that Rush's "recent statement that the NFL was beginning to look like a fight between the Crips and the Bloods without the weapons, was disturbing."

Sharpton's letter comes in the wake of public opposition from the head of the NFL Players Association, who also asked Goodell to reject Rush from the league.

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