Jan 3, 2014; Arlington, TX, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) runs on the field before the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the 2014 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium. Missouri beat Oklahoma State 41-31. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Prospect, Former Missouri Tigers Michael Sam Announces He Is Gay

Michael Sam, a 2014 NFL linebacker prospect, announced through several media stories he is gay. It is expected he will be the first active NFL player who is openly gay in the history of the league. As of today, there a no active players in the NFL, NBA, NFL, or Major League Baseball who are openly gay.

From the New York Times story:

Mr. Sam, 24, is projected to be chosen in the early rounds of the N.F.L. draft in May, ordinarily an invitation to a prosperous professional career. He said he decided to come out publicly now because he sensed that rumors were circulating.

“I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it,” said Mr. Sam, who also spoke with ESPN on Sunday. “I just want to own my truth.”

Sam’s road is not expected to be easy. There were rumbling from NFL scouts about the possibility he was gay, and some thing it may negatively effect his draft status. “I think he would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted,” Jonathan Vilma told the NFL Network. A full interview with his thoughts can be seen on the NFL website.

“I’m not naïve,” Sam told the times. “I know this is a huge deal and I know how important this is. But my role as of right now is to train for the combine and play in the NFL.”

While Sam will be trying to figure out his path in the NFL, his former Missouri teammates all seem to be behind him. Sam came out to his teammates last August.

“Once I became official to my teammates, I knew who I was,” Mr. Sam said. “I knew that I was gay. And I knew that I was Michael Sam, who’s a Mizzou football player who happens to be gay. I was so proud of myself and I just didn’t care who knew. If someone on the street would have asked me, ‘Hey, Mike, I heard you were gay; is that true?’ I would have said yes.”

No one asked.

“I guess they don’t want to ask a 6-3, 260-pound defensive lineman if he was gay or not,” Mr. Sam said. And he laughed.

Many fans and teammates voiced their support for Sam on Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NFL has already released a statement on Sam’s announcement:

We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. 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.

Sam was named a first team all-American and the SEC defensive player of the year in 2013 after recording 31 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and 19 tackles for loss. He had a sack, tackle for loss, and forced fumble in Missouri’s win over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

Sam was also voted Missouri’s most valuable player by his teammates.

As for the Chiefs, Sam could provide much needed depth to the team’s outside linebacker group. When both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston went down it the home game against San Diego, Kansas City’s pass rush was non-existent. Adding Sam would provide both the depth and a future replacement for Hali. Sam’s size is a concern to some, but he is about the same size as Houston. His 40-time will be very interesting to watch at the combine.

KCChiefs.com has a brief interview with Sam from the Senior Bowl on their site.

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