Michael Sam, an all-American defensive end from Missouri, announced that he was gay on Sunday. If drafted, Sam may become the first player in the National Football League to publicly come out about his sexual orientation.
Sam told the New York Times:
I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth.
It is predicted that Sam will be chosen in the early rounds of the NFL draft in May. He said he decided to come out now because he could feel the rumors starting.
According to USA Today, a statement was made Sunday night by the league:
We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the N.F.L. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.
Sam openly told his teammates L’Damian Washington and Marvin Foster first and announced it to the rest of his team during a team-building exercise last year in preseason, according to the New York Times. Sunday was the first time he went public.
After coming out about his sexual orientation, Sam wrote on his Twitter account
I want to thank everybody for their support and encouragement,especially @espn, @nytimes and @nfl. I am proud to tell my story to the world!
Sam stands at 6-3 and 260 pounds led the Southeastern Conference last season with 10? sacks and 18 tackles for loss. The Associated Press named him SEC defensive player of the year. Sam is very deserving to play at the next level and is looking forward to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month.