Michael Sam Comes Out As Gay: Missouri Football Star Could Be 1st Openly Gay NFL Player
Former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam, named a first-team All-American after the 2013 season, has publicly come out as gay. The college football standout is eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft and is poised to become the first active openly gay player in the league's history. He spoke publicly about his sexuality for the first time to The New York Times and ESPN on Sunday.
The 24-year-old from Hitchcock, Texas revealed to both outlets that he had come out to his teammates during a preseason football practice before the Tigers' 2013 campaign.
"I understand how big this is," Sam 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."
A 6-foot-2, 255-pound senior who was voted co-defensive player of the year in the vaunted Southeastern Conference for the 2013 season, Sam made his announcement just two weeks before the NFL Scouting Combine begins on Feb. 22 in Indianapolis.
“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty & courage," the NFL said in a statement released on Sunday, via Ian Rapoport of NFL.com. "Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in NFL.”