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Missouri All-American says he's gay

Missouri DE Michael Sam Says He's Gay

Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.

In interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports that were published Sunday, Sam said his teammates and coaches at Missouri have known since August.

"I am an openly, proud gay man," he said.

The 255-pound Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month after leading the SEC in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19), and he is projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick.

"It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL," he said in the interviews.

There have been numerous NFL players who have come out after their playing days, including Kwame Harris and Dave Kopay.

Last year, NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay after the season. Collins, a 35-year-old backup center, was a free agent and has not signed with a new team this season. MLS star and U.S. national team player Robbie Rogers also came out a year ago.

Division III Willamette kicker Conner Mertens, a redshirt freshman, said last month he was bisexual.

"We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage," the NFL said in statement. "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."

Sam said many people at the Senior Bowl all-star game for NFL prospects seemed to know that he was gay.

"I didn't realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me," he told ESPN. "I want to own my truth. ... No one else should tell my story but me."

Before coming out to all his teammates and coaches, Sam said he told a few close friends and dated another Missouri athlete who was not a football player.

"Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we're from, and something that no one knows about you," Sam said. "And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, `Michael Sam finally told us.'"

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement Sunday night he was proud of Sam and how he represented the program.

"Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he's taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn't matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we're all on the same team and we all support each other," Pinkel said. "If Michael doesn't have the support of his teammates like he did this past year, I don't think there's any way he has the type of season he put together."

Missouri linebacker Donovan Bonner has been a teammate of Sam's for five years.

"We knew of his status for 5 years and not one team member, coach, or staff member said anything says a lot about our family atmosphere," Bonner tweeted.

Join the discussion

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simpljb February 10 2014 at 11:30 AM

WHO CARES !! its been all over the news today and who cares , some are treating this like its such a huge event and comparing it to the days of Jackie Robinson becoming the first black baseball player in the majors - THERE IS NO COMPARISON - this is NOT a civil rights issue , there have been gays who have gone onto the NFL many times over

Flag Reply +5 rate up
creativesoul02 February 10 2014 at 9:31 AM

Who cares? I am sick and tired of hearing these announcements. It is your business.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
red65malibuss February 10 2014 at 11:06 AM

That fat@zz moochelle just put in her two cents, which in reality is worth about 1 cent

Flag Reply +5 rate up
emberbb February 10 2014 at 12:41 PM

I liked his answers, and as far as I am concerned, he made good sense. He is a football player who is looking forward to teamwork and winning games. Sounds like the right guy. It should never matter if they are gay, their faith, or their family wealth; he is a man for standing up and telling the truth. I say - welcome to the team.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
eaglephoenix2 emberbb February 10 2014 at 12:45 PM

Just try and mention faith - the boulder tossing begins!

Flag Reply +4 rate up
plowboy611 February 10 2014 at 9:47 AM

And exactly why do we need to know what your sexual preferences are? Is the NFL going to give him his own locker room? I'm sure whatever team he lands on, most players would rather not have him in the same shower! It's none of our business so keep your business to your self.

Flag Reply +7 rate up
bbwiththeo February 10 2014 at 9:18 AM

Yawn... so what? who cares? so you kiss boys, what on earth makes you think it necessary to tell somebody that?

It will be interesting to see if in the future either he or his agent reveal that this was only a stunt to raise his draft profile. Kind of like Anderson Cooper tried to save his failing career last year with a revelation that he too is gay.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
lntaylor2010 bbwiththeo February 10 2014 at 9:49 AM

Ugh, its starting to be like the "in" thing to do now. I'm so over it. The ones who worse are the "hey, hey, look at me, I'm straight and I'm so accepting of it, equality, equality" attention seekers. Just sit down somewhere. Gays are making a spectacle of themselves, I promise u, no one cared until it started being shoved in our faces and our children's faces daily. People are sick of it already.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
eaglephoenix2 February 10 2014 at 12:51 PM

I remember being very surprised by Dave Kopay and his revelations that there were quite a few closeted football players - and haven't been surprised since, except by maybe a few, like Dan Marino who turned out to be straight.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
The Princess February 10 2014 at 9:22 AM

Really? Who cares? Just play football and stop the drama!

Flag Reply +5 rate up
CasSandra February 10 2014 at 10:54 AM

Who really cares

Flag Reply +5 rate up
bluetimestwo February 10 2014 at 9:48 AM

Just play well...that's it.

Flag Reply +6 rate up
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