When Mizzou defensive end Michael Sam came out this February, many wondered if his sexuality would hinder his draft prospects. Was the NFL ready for its first openly gay player?
The answer is a (tentative) yes. After being passed over in the early rounds, Sam was chosen yesterday as a seventh-round draft pick by the St. Louis Rams. ESPN was on hand to document the moment, which saw Sam overcome by emotion as he processes the news of his history-making new job. His boyfriend embraces him, and the two kiss each other as loved ones close in to offer their support. Watch the video above and try not to get teary.
"The moment my name was called was the single greatest moment of my life," Sam said in a statement to ESPN. The White House later released a statement in which President Obama congratulated the player, the NFL, and the Rams for "taking an important step forward today in our Nation's journey."
"Since February and my big announcement, this has been a whole [lot of] speculation of the first openly gay football player, but you know what," Sam told ESPN. "It's not about that. It's about playing football. Can Michael Sam play football? Yes, I can, and the St. Louis Rams know I can. I am going to give everything I've got to the St. Louis Rams to help the Rams win a championship."
It's heartening to see a talented gay athlete get his due. Here's hoping he's treated with respect both on and off the field. (ESPN)