Dances with cleats

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Miachael Sam

ABC just announced the lineup for season 20 of “Dancing with the Stars” and one of our favorite pro football players, Michael Sam, is on tap to samba and rhumba with dancer Peta Murgatroyd. Sam is in good company. The show has a history of twinkle-toe football players, including Jerry Rice and Emmitt Smith.

The former University of Missouri Tigers star defensive player was the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. He was drafted first by the St. Louis Rams and cut before the season and then picked up by the Cowboys. Unfortunately for him and us, he was released after several weeks. Too bad for the Cowboys — they could have used some additional defense.

Of course, the initial knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk) reactions across simpleton social-media America was to disparage ABC for describing Sam as a gay NFL player. Thinly veiled homophobia at best, to be polite. But, to be fair, a number of LGBT supporters are smacking these people back down.

But back to the important stuff. Sam says he is still interested in trying out for the NFL again this year and that a number of teams have expressed interest. He certainly isn’t without a sense of humor or irony, either. In January, he proposed to his longtime boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, in Vatican City.

I’ve never been hard-core dedicated to the show, but I’ll be watching it kick off this season to once again root for one of our own. Another of the season’s celebrity dancers is Philadelphia’s own Patti LaBelle, who will pair up with Artem Chigvintsev.

“Dancing with the Stars” season 20 premiers 8 p.m. March 16 on ABC.

Cleveland LGBTs benefit from Gay Games 9 profit

An international quadrennial games surplus? It never, ever happens with the Olympics, that’s for sure, but GG9 organizers announced it just last week. It’s not the first profit for a Gay Games, but it is the largest to date.

Gay Games 9 was the most profitable in the games’ 32-year history. The money will be divided between the Gay Games LGBT Legacy Fund at the Cleveland Foundation, which will receive $120,000, and the Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation, which receives $27,000. Both organizations were sponsors of the games in Cleveland and Akron last year.

Gay Games 10 will be held Aug. 4-12, 2018, in Paris.

It’s beginning to look a lot like springtime

Spring is about to spring us free from the cold, gray season of death, but before that happens, we start getting our evening light back beginning 2 a.m. March 8. Our return to Daylight Saving Time is one of the turning points in seasonal shifts and that means a couple of our sports (soccer and tennis, to name two) will be returning to the outside world soon after.

In two weeks, I’ll start the spring round-up of who’s moving out to where and what’s starting back up and when. Until then, put on your boots, hats, scarves, gloves, two pairs of socks, two pairs of pants, three shirts and two coats and get out and play!

Short stops

• The next OPAL/Stonewall Sports fundraiser is 9 p.m. April 18 at Tabu.

• Sports and recreation info can be found inside the back page of the PGN every fourth Friday of the month or at any time at epgn.com.

Are you having a sports spring fling wing-ding thing? Email [email protected]