Top NFL Prospect, Michael Sam, Comes Out

2.9.2014

By Stacy Lambe

Ahead of the draft, Sam may become the first out NFL player

On Sunday, in an exclusive interview with ESPN, college football player Michael Sam announced he is gay.

“I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it,” Sam told ESPN. “I just want to own my truth.”

The University of Missouri defensive end comes out just months before the official NFL draft. If selected, he will become the first out athlete actively participating in one of America's top sports leagues. 

Following in the footsteps of NBA's free agent Jason Collins and MLS player Robbie Rogers, WNBA's Brittney Griner (who is possibly the most sponsored of all professional gay athletes in the U.S.), Sam is paving the path of acceptance in sports by coming out as a gay man.

In a statement to the press, GLAAD recognized the major achievment in professional sports. 

"By rewriting the script for countless young athletes, Michael has demonstrated the leadership that, along with his impressive skills on the field, makes him a natural fit for the NFL," GLAAD President Sarah Kate Ellis said.

The official NFL draft starts May 8, and there's no doubt that the league is going to make special accomodations for the big news.

“I’m not naïve,” Mr. Sam said. “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 N.F.L.”

(For more on the story about how Sam came out visit OutSports.com.)

The announcement comes in the first week of the Sochi Olympics, which has become subject of scrutiny due to the host nation's anti-gay laws. A total of seven out athletes are competing in the Games.

(Read the full The New York Times profile.)

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