Missouri DL and NFL hopeful: 'I am an openly, proud gay man'
Former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam says he is gay in interviews with both The New York Times and ESPN's "Outside the Lines," meaning that if he is drafted in May, Sam could become the first publicly gay player in NFL history.
The 6-foot-2, 260-pound senior says his teammates and coaches have known since August.
"I understand how big this is," he told ESPN. "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."
Sam, 24, is coming off a stellar season, in which he was a first-team all-American and an SEC co-defensive player of the year.
"I didn't realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me," he said. "I want to own my truth. ... No one else should tell my story but me."
Reaction poured in almost instantly after the announcement, with messages of support from around the athletic community.
"We’re really happy for Michael that he’s made the decision to announce this, and we’re proud of him and how he represents Mizzou," Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement. "Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he’s taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we’re all on the same team and we all support each other."
The NFL itself also released a statement.
"We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage," the statement read. "Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."
that took some guts coming out before the draft.
don't think I'd want to be alone in the showers with the big fellow if he thought I was cute. :chuckle:
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