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Protests Planned Over Sam Joining Cowboys

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The Dallas Cowboys have signed Michael Sam, who seeks to play as the first openly gay athlete in the National Football League. (credit: CBS 11 Art Dept.)

The Dallas Cowboys have signed Michael Sam, who seeks to play as the first openly gay athlete in the National Football League. (credit: CBS 11 Art Dept.)

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Jack Fink
Jack moved to Dallas after three years at WESH-TV, the NBC affil...
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Updated September 4, 2014:
On its website Thursday, the American Decency Association says it is not the group using the name “American Decency” headed by Jack Burkman that is organizing the protest Sunday. A new news release dated Thursday, September 4, made no mention of the group “American Decency”, but still claims Burkman is organizing a protest at 3 p.m. outside AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Sunday during the Dallas Cowboys game.

NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – The group American Decency says thousands of right-wing Christians will demonstrate at AT&T Stadium Sunday to protest the Dallas Cowboys signing Michael Sam to its practice squad.

Sam is the first openly gay player drafted to the NFL.

Jack Burkman heads the group which claims to have 3.62 million members in 41 states. Burkman says, “We cannot just stand idly by as Christian values and morals are trampled. We will do whatever we can to preserve family values in this country.”

Rafael McDonnell of the Resource Center, which provides services to the LGBT community, says Sam could help the Cowboys win on and off the field. “He is a talented football player, and if he can help us win, it’s a bonus that he happens to be part of the LGBT community. It shines a light about how difficult it is to be open and out at your job.”

Some callers to 105.3 The Fan made verbal tackles against Sam. One caller said, “I don’t want my kids looking up to me and say Daddy, what does that mean that he’s gay?” But other fans say with the Cowboy‎’s weak defense, they may need Michael Sam’s strengths. “If he can use the speed to get around the corner and get to the quarterback, hey, that’s all we need.”

After the Cowboys passed up the chance to draft quarterback ‎Johnny Manziel, and all the hype that followed, some analysts wonder if owner and general manager Jerry Jones wanted to create a buzz around his team.

Erin Patton is a former Nike executive who’s now an adjunct professor at TCU’s Neeley School of Business. “Anything the Cowboys can do by adding personality and entertainment into their gumbo of a brand, I think ultimately at the end of the day, that translates into increased relevance, increased sales, and increased brand equity,” he said.

But Patton says winning games is still always the top priority. “I think they would be remiss as an organization to put marketing or pr stunts ahead of what’s most important, which is putting a strong product on the football field.”

Others, including Patton, believe Sam may attract new fans to the Cowboys.

Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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