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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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ted February 10 2014 at 11:27 AM

of course he's gay

Flag Reply +2 rate up
Ken February 10 2014 at 12:04 PM

I had sex the other night with my wife of 35 years. Now that's news

Flag Reply +4 rate up
2 replies
Welcome MSGT Ken February 10 2014 at 12:16 PM

So did I.....no wait not with yours, but with my own. At 77 it is still great.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
normandyv Ken February 10 2014 at 6:18 PM

That's not what she said.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
jrsatty February 10 2014 at 9:28 AM

Now this would have been the appropriate time for Hillary to say "What difference now does it make".

Flag Reply +2 rate up
pdparker77 February 10 2014 at 9:30 AM

Think about this for a second. This is a sport where men tackle other men to the ground, hitting each other with their hot sweaty bodies. Does this really surprise anyone? Yeah go ahead and try not to think about that for now on when these men are tackling each other as they play .

Flag Reply +3 rate up
seanherling February 10 2014 at 9:30 AM

Here's a setup for the first NFL sex discrimination lawsuit waiting to happen!
How many teams are willing to draft him, put up with the legal (LGBT) issues, and the drama that precedes and follows it?
When noone drafts him we will find out !

Flag Reply +3 rate up
bblongshot February 10 2014 at 9:30 AM

when was the last time you read hey Jonny is strait and is playing football?Come on! And the gay community wonders why peple are sick to death of this junk.We could give a rats patutie what sexual orientation this boy is just live your life and let everyone else live ours.The media makes mountains out of mole hills and thats what this is a mole hill.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
ntweety7777 February 10 2014 at 12:33 PM

I think that he should have waited until he was drafted until he came out of the closet.

Flag Reply +1 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
kostas February 10 2014 at 9:32 AM

With all the other stuff that coaches have to worry about,
This is some thing you don't want in your locker room, His career is done.
We would like to think we are above stuff like this but we are not.
Any team that takes him will have a problem you will have to tip toe around the guy
with jokes with smart remarks, I worked in a manufacturing floor for 25 years and if you heard half the stuff that was said it would curl your toe nails the jokes the remarks the guys that
worked in manufacturing know what I am talking about and in the locker room its the same
It would be to much of a distraction.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
kcarthey kostas February 10 2014 at 10:07 AM

Why would it be too much of a distraction among the guys you worked with on the manufacturing floor? Would the distraction come from you guys wanting to discuss it, maybe learn some techniques, perhaps even try it? If it would have been a distraction on the floor of your manufacturing plant no wonder quality products are not manufactured in the US any more.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
kostas kcarthey February 10 2014 at 10:18 AM

I don't know if you are male or female by your name but like I said, if you have never been in that situation working with a bunch of guys you don't know. the jokes the smart remarks guys make to each other. with a open gay man there you would have to be on the defensive all the time,
That what you say might get you in trouble,,,,

Flag 0 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
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