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Draft-a-Palooza
May 8, 2014
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Before Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announced earlier this year that he was gay, he was projected as perhaps a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Over the following months however, an underwhelming tryout and skepticism about whether he would be a "distraction" in the NFL pushed him further down the draft board. Sam has slipped so far in mock draft analysis that there is now a legitimate question about whether or not he'll even make it to the pros.

The question was unthinkable back in February. Sam had just been named co-defensive player of the year in the defense-first SEC. Yet when he came out as gay, he immediately plummeted on draft boards; one ranking dropped him 70 spots overnight. Anonymous execs and scouts flatly stated his homosexuality was a concern, with one saying he would "chemically imbalance" the locker room.

But for all the focus on his sexuality, Sam's on-field skills also raised red flags. He's small for his position and showed pedestrian speed and athleticism at the NFL Scouting Combine, leaving scouts with little to praise beyond his "hustle."

Though Sam is still projected as a late-round pick, that doesn't guarantee he'll hear his name called. As Nate Silver noted in an analysis of pre-draft projections from years past, about half of players rated in the same vicinity as Sam weren't drafted. Jon Terbush

explainers
2:31 a.m. ET

Europe is facing a lot of tough, complicated choices — and some very visible tragedies — as it deals with a huge influx of migrants from Africa, Afghanistan, and the Middle East. But as The Economist explains in the video below, the would-be refugees from the various areas have more or less settled on specific routes to Europe. If you want a better understanding of Europe's biggest current problem, this video will give you a good, helpful overview of what's going on in the European Union and the decisions it faces in the next months and years. Peter Weber

Health
2:30 a.m. ET
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The American Academy of Pediatrics is advising parents and pediatricians to talk to kids about drinking alcohol when they are 9 years old.

"Surveys indicate that children start to think positively about alcohol between ages 9 and 13 years," Dr. Lorena Siqueira, a pediatrician, and colleagues wrote in the journal Pediatrics. "The more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising and marketing, the more likely they are to drink, and if they are already drinking, this exposure leads them to drink more."

The authors write that 21 percent of young people say they have had more than a sip of alcohol before the age of 13, and 79 percent have done so by 12th grade. Oftentimes, they are also drinking in excess because they are inexperienced when it comes to consuming alcohol. "Among youth who drink, the proportion who drink heavily is higher than among adult drinkers, rising from approximately 50 percent in those 12 to 14 years of age to 72 percent among those 18 to 20 years of age," the authors wrote.

The new guidance, published on Monday, advises pediatricians to screen every adolescent patient for alcohol use, and remind parents of some good news: 80 percent of teenagers say their parents have an influence on their decision whether to drink. Catherine Garcia

bangkok bombing
1:40 a.m. ET
Christophe Archambault/AFP/Getty Images

On Monday, Thai police said they found bomb-making materials at an apartment in the Min Buri district of Bangkok, the second such discovery since Saturday, when they arrested an unidentified foreigner and seized detonators, ball bearings, a metal pipe, and other equipment they said was intended to build a bomb.

The second raid uncovered fertilizer, digital clocks, remote control cars, and gunpowder. "These are bomb-making materials," said national police spokesman Prawuth Thavornsiri. "Nobody would keep urea fertilizer and gunpowder unless they wanted to make a bomb."

Police say they believe the foreigner arrested Saturday was part of a network that set off the deadly Aug. 17 bomb blast at Bangkok's Erawan Shrine. Reports online have suggested that the suspect entered Thailand on a Turkish passport, but Prawuth said they are working with "a number of embassies" to figure out the man's nationality. And the interrogation isn't proceeding very fast. "He is not cooperating much," Prawuth said. "From our preliminary investigation, we think he isn't telling us the truth." Peter Weber

history destroyed
1:36 a.m. ET

On Sunday, Islamic State militants used more than 30 tons of explosives to blow up part of the Temple of Bel in the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra, sources said.

The largest structure in the city, the Temple of Bel was constructed in 32 AD and was well preserved. Activists in the area and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights say the temple was damaged, just a week after ISIS blew up the Baal Shamin temple. ISIS captured Palmyra from Syrian government forces in May, and UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said the militants in both Syria and Iraq are behind "the most brutal, systematic" destruction of ancient artifacts since World War II, Al Jazeera reports. Catherine Garcia

He has the kardashian vote
12:43 a.m. ET

Start making your "Yeezus 2020" shirts now: Kanye West is running for president.

During Sunday's MTV Video Music Awards, West made the announcement after accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award from possible future running mate Taylor Swift. West spoke about how he is different now that he's a father and shared his love for other artists. "I will die for the art, for what I believe in," he said. "The art ain't always gonna be polite." Then, boom! West dropped this bombshell: "It's about ideas, bro, new ideas, bro. People with ideas. People who believe in truth. And yes, as you probably could have guessed by this moment, I have decided in 2020 to run for president."

The crowd went wild, but imagining First Lady Kim Kardashian might all be for naught, as West admitted right before his proclamation that he did "smoke something before he came here." This could go two ways: Either it was a joke made under the influence, or legalization will be his major campaign issue in 2020. Catherine Garcia

Johnsplaining
12:21 a.m. ET

Last Week Tonight is off for two more weeks, and to fill the Sunday late-night TV chasm, John Oliver wants to regale you with his favorite lies. Like the one about Paul Revere's severe horse allergy, or the dark origins of Irish step dancing. There's one sort of off-color joke, but it's pretty clean (and short) for Last Week Tonight. Most importantly, Oliver had a message for fans trying to figure out what to do until Sept. 13: "Trust nobody — especially me." Enjoy Oliver's lies — especially the last one — in the video below. Peter Weber

on the run
August 30, 2015

Authorities in Brazil are searching for a mayor accused of stealing funds from schools and running her town via a mobile messenger app.

Prosecutors say that instead of living in Bom Jardim, Lidiane Leite, 25, resided 170 miles away in Sao Luis, the capital of Maranhao state. They say Leite — who was elected after her then-boyfriend, Beto Rocha, was barred from running for mayor in 2012 for alleged corruption — would use WhatsApp to check in with her cabinet, running the town's affairs remotely.

Leite took off when she was mentioned as part of Operation Eden, which discovered that $4 million earmarked for Bom Jardim's school was gone, the BBC reports. Bom Jardim is in one of the country's poorest states, and teachers in the town now aren't being paid. An arrest warrant was issued Thursday, and the town's new mayor was sworn in Saturday, promising to support a full investigation into the missing money. Leite's attorney, Carlos Barros, denies that his client did anything wrong. "She was too young and inexperienced when she took office," he said. "She lacked confidence and delegated many tasks to Mr. Rocha." Catherine Garcia

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