Watch: Michael Sam's Emotional Reaction When Selected in NFL Draft
By Jerry Portwood
Today history was made when Michael Sam, who came out publicly earlier this year, was drafted as the 249th pick in the NFL draft. That will make him the first openly gay football player in pro football. ESPN captured his emotional reaction to the news. He even kissed his boyfriend when he heard the news.
The reaction to the draft news of Sam was quick on Twitter.
— Robbie Rogers (@robbierogers) May 10, 2014
“Football plays an important and valuable role in cultivating leadership and respect,” Brendon Ayanbadejo, a former Baltimore Raven and an outspoken defender of gay marriage, said in a statement. “The St. Louis Rams just helped athletes everywhere feel more confident in their ability to be who they are and play the game they love.”
"Without a doubt, this is a game changer," said GLAAD President & CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. "Today, Michael Sam has redefined what it takes to be a champion. He's tackled stereotypes and joins the ranks of athletic trailblazers like Jason Collins and Brittney Griner in showing Americans that there's no place for homophobia on the field. As support for equality continues to surge, it's clear that sports fans are ready, football is ready, and America is ready for its first openly gay NFL player."
Earlier this week, Visa had already decided to sign an endorsement deal with Sam. And Out ranked him the No. 9 in its annual LGBT Power List.
As the New York Times notes: "Sam could still be signed as a free agent, which is an invitation to attend training camp without a guaranteed spot on a team’s roster. About one-third of the players in the N.F.L. last year were undrafted, and a handful have been elected to the Hall of Fame."
Whatever the case, it's certainly an exciting day for football fans and many others who see Sam's draft as a barometer of how inclusiveness the United States, and the world of pro sports, has become in such a short period of time.
Watch his emotional reaction below: