Mizzou's Michael Sam Comes Out; May Become First Openly Gay Player in NFL

Categories: LGBT, Mizzou, Mizzou

MichaelSam.jpg
via mutigers.com
Michael Sam.
Michael Sam, a defensive lineman formerly at the University of Missouri, came out yesterday evening in two simultaneously released interviews with the New York Times and ESPN.

"I am an openly, proud gay man," he told interviewers at the sports network.

After an extremely successful final season with Mizzou, Sam is entering the 2014 NFL draft this spring. If he's drafted, he'll become the first openly gay player in the league.

See also: Mizzou Athletic Department Says "You Can Play" to LGBT Students (VIDEO)

Sam told the New York Times that he came out to his teammates in August, though some already knew about his orientation and his dating life.

"They rallied and supported me," Sam told the paper.

Apparently the news didn't phase them one bit -- they voted him "Most Valuable Player" at a team banquet in December. Sam was also apparently moved by the university's "You Can Play" campaign, which sought tolerance within the university sports community for LGBT players.

We reached out to Sam ourselves, but his spokesman told Daily RFT Sam is not doing any further interviews at this time. Sam did, however, have something to say via Twitter last night:

While many -- including First Lady Michelle Obama and Senator Claire McCaskill -- are cheering Sam's decision to go public, there's plenty of trouble on the horizon. A group of NFL executives and coaches spoke under condition of anonymity to Sports Illustrated and gave this assessment:

In blunt terms, they project a significant drop in Sam's draft stock, a publicity circus and an NFL locker room culture not prepared to deal with an openly gay player. Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, was projected as a mid- to late-round draft pick prior to his announcement.

While none of the executives overtly condemned Sam's decision, their opinions illuminated an NFL culture in which an openly gay player -- from the draft room to the locker room -- faces long odds and a lonely path.

No huge surprises there, however, the 2014 draft just got incredibly important for the future of the NFL and LGBT rights. How will the teams, coaches, owners respond?

Mizzou Nation -- along with the whole nation -- will be watching.

P.S. For good measure, here's Sam's dog dressed up like he's people. Tiger people:

Follow Jessica Lussenhop on Twitter at @Lussenpop. E-mail the author at Jessica.Lussenhop@RiverfrontTimes.com.

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47 comments
Twana Wangler
Twana Wangler

His talent has nothing to do with his sexual preference. Who really believed there are no gays in the professional sports? I hope he is drafted and shows everyone his talent supersedes his personal preferences.

Shane Feltes
Shane Feltes

Hell it's not like he'll be groping them all. I think they can take it.

Chuck Avery
Chuck Avery

I would be willing to bet he is not the first.

Keith Stephens
Keith Stephens

IDK, are dick suckers facing hatred, derision and lack of equality?

Ree Winston
Ree Winston

He needs a publicist! He should have came out once he signed a contract! IJS

David Biernbaum
David Biernbaum

I look forward to the day when this isn't breaking news and when it doesn't matter anymore. But unfortunately, it still does matter because there is still so much prejudice and hate in our society, and that's why this still matters, and why this was such a brave move for Michael Sam. Good luck and much success to Michael Sam. I am a Mizzou alumni and very proud of him, and the entire 2013 team, on and off the field.

Keith Stephens
Keith Stephens

I remember that, David. He's a very lame troll, Ricky.

Aunia Kahn
Aunia Kahn

By the way there are more heroes than those who serve. I grew up with a police officer as a father, an uncle as a fireman and overall they are -- however, there are others who are heroes to human rights, mental illness and other things that we need to focus on as well. Cheers!

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

And if Rep. Nick Marshall has his way, he will end up in prison or worse.  Still, its about time someone was brave enough to come out from the NFL.

Kathie Steffens
Kathie Steffens

It's nice to see something progressive from the show me state. Doesn't happen very often.

Jeff Weber
Jeff Weber

Hes not a hero hes a football player the real heroes are the ones who put on the uniform and defend our freedoms heroes are the first responders and police not someone who plays a sport.

Jeff Weber
Jeff Weber

I think what he is planning is if he is not picked in the Draft he can use its because he is gay line is why he was not picked if he is not.

Jeff Weber
Jeff Weber

Ask why its a big deal is not rightwing. and if St Louis is right wing why do we have a Liberal Mayor and a Liberal congressman and Liberal Senator

Audacious Melodious
Audacious Melodious

So do we get to know who sucks dick or plays with themselves? I mean...if we're going to air out personal sexual business and act like it's something we desperately need to know...let's start this movement asap

Jeff Weber
Jeff Weber

Only comments I am seeing is why is it a big deal now days stuff like that.

Audacious Melodious
Audacious Melodious

This gay agenda is starting to get out of hand nowadays. Why is what someone does in the bedroom announced to public? We should start a maxipad vs tampon agenda. Get more maxipad users in the world.

Don Occhi
Don Occhi

I think he will have a tough road,but he looks like he can handle it.

Ricky Nelson
Ricky Nelson

he's just a troll, if he get's you upset then he has got what he wanted.

David J. McCutcheon
David J. McCutcheon

I blocked Steve Mincer, as he threatened to beat me up once and then I told him where to meet me and he chickened out. I don't waste my time reading the comments of Internet tough guy cowards. I recommend none of you do, either.

Tammy Pendino
Tammy Pendino

his sexual preference should not matter. If he is a professional he will not sexually harass any of his team mates. Let's be realistic here, Michaeal will run into players that he will be sexually attracted to. So the question should be asked will he get slapped a sexual harassment suit against him by others on the field? Could happen.

Jim Phillips
Jim Phillips

St. Louis area seems to have a whole bunch of rightwingers. They sure want everybody to listen to them!

Keith Stephens
Keith Stephens

Are conservatives who come out as gay part of this "liberal double standard" as well, Steve Mincer?

Brian McDowell
Brian McDowell

It's a good tactic. That way, if he doesn't get drafted as high as he feels he should, he can blame homophobia.

Courtney Ringle
Courtney Ringle

Another shining moment of ignorance, from stl's finest, Steve mincer. I swear this man must piss in his own cheerios each morning..

Jason Goad
Jason Goad

Why is this guys sexual preferences a news story.??

Sakura Deja
Sakura Deja

He gives courage to many LGBT people for coming out. And The reason we heterosexuals do not need to announce our sexuality is because we are not made to feel shame or hated because of it. This young man may have actually HURT his chances in the draft...but somewhere, some young, gay man is going to see how brave Michael is being & how much courage it took to announce this...and not feel shamed. If you people only new how many gay teenagers/young adults killed themselves because they are not accepted by their families & friends...a man like Michael lets these people know that it's okay to be brave & be who you are.

Steve Mincer
Steve Mincer

pointing out the liberal double standard isn't "hate". gays send a strange mixed message. "treat us equal!... but, we're going to make sure you know we're gay."

Rog Berry
Rog Berry

why is it a big deal? Equality would mean praising me or any one else when they say they are straight.

Stu Katz
Stu Katz

No this is not "huge", this is a brave young man being public about his sexuality, and is not earth shattering or earth stopping. It is 5 minutes of the news in passing. I only assume that there have been others who are gay, but did not have the guts Michael Sam has. That said, get on with the important stuff, stop making it such a drama.

Ambiaka Maupin
Ambiaka Maupin

I just started to like football. Just because of this.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

Reading all the negative comments about this makes me realize how important & brave Michael is! all the haters are coming out of their holes, like living back in the early 50's

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