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There have been many events that have taken place in the history of sports that have shocked us to the core and changed the way we look at things forever. April of 2014 will most definitely be added to that list. Missouri Tigers defensive end Michael Sam announced that he is gay.
"I came to tell the world that I'm an openly, proud gay man," he told Chris Connelly Sunday night on ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Bleacher Report reports.
Once drafted in April, this will mark the first ever current NFL player who has announced he is gay. So what does this mean for the NFL and for Sam?
Because Sam has put together a decorated career in college, including being named an All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, he’s projected to go in the early rounds of the draft and will get drafted.
Although a surprise, we all still knew this was going to happen eventually as recent events have previewed. Former NBA player (technically still active but at the time a free agent) Jason Collins came out as openly gay in April of 2013, Sports Illustrated notes. That marked the first ever active professional player in American sports history to come out.
The NFL machine is the one entity that will spark interest to the max. Will this boost Sam’s draft value? Will teams stay away to avoid the extra media attention that it will garner at all times? Can Sam handle all the attention that will come his way?
Can the NFL handle this? It might be the ultimate test for a league that has so many players on one team (53), and so many teams in the league (32), and so many diehard fans across the country (almost everybody).
Get ready folks, the NFL Scouting Combine just got much more interesting.
image: Wikimedia Commons