Jeff Fisher responds to Jon Gruden’s claim that Roger Goodell pressured Rams to draft Michael Sam

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Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Raiders this week after the New York Times revealed racist, homophobic and misogynistic emails that were sent by Gruden over the course of seven years before he was hired by the Raiders. It was uncovered that Gruden claimed NFL commissioner Roger Goodell pressured the St. Louis Rams into drafting Michael Sam in 2014, who was the first openly gay player drafted in NFL history.

Jeff Fisher was the head coach of the Rams at the time of Sam being drafted, and on Tuesday night, Fisher responded to Gruden’s claim. He said the Rams “selected him in the 2014 NFL Draft based on his defensive production and pass rushing skill set on the field.”

Fisher also said a player’s “sexual orientation would never – and should never – play a part in the decision-making process.”

Here’s Fisher’s full statement, which he released on Twitter.

The Rams selected Sam in the seventh round that year after he earned Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in the SEC during his final season at Missouri. They waived him in August and he was signed to the Cowboys’ practice squad that September, but he never appeared in a regular-season game.

Sam has not publicly responded to Gruden’s unsubstantiated claim, but he did share this tweet on National Coming Out Day, the same day Gruden resigned as coach of the Raiders.

Fisher coached the Rams from 2012-2016, going 31-45-1 during his time in St. Louis and briefly in L.A.