Missouri football star may become first openly gay player in NFL

By Erica Albanese,

Michael Sam, a defensive lineman from the University of Missouri, revealed that he is gay in an interview with ESPN’s Outside the Lines on Sunday.

According to ESPN, Sam is the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year. He is eligible for the NFL draft in May and if accepted, will become the first active openly gay player in the NFL.

“I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it," Sam told The New York Times. "I just want to own my truth.”

Sam came out to fellow players and coaches at the University of Michigan last year during preseason training camp. He decided to let the world know now because he speculated that many people already knew and didn’t want rumors circulating.

“I told my mom and dad last week, and they just pretty much said, 'We knew and we love you and support you.' I'm their baby boy. I'm the first to go to college. I'm the first to graduate college," Sam said about coming out to his parents a week ago. "Something like this is just another milestone.”

The NFL has since issued a statement in support of Sam. “Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014," NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said.

image: Wikimedia Commons

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