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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.

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red65malibuss February 11 2014 at 12:06 PM

These gay's are just begging for attention, unfortunately he just dropped himself way down in the draft. What a tool. Why don't you keep it to yourselves and do your disgusting things behind closed doors. I don't walk around saying I'm a heterosexual, give me special attention! He is from Missouri, though which explains a lot.

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Doug February 11 2014 at 9:37 AM

I am SO proud of him for this revelation. Welcome!

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vcrbug36 February 10 2014 at 10:07 PM

IM SO SICK OF GAY LESBEIN PIGS LIKE THIS DUMB IDOT BASKET BALL PLAYER AND TO ALL OF THE PEOPLE THATS SUPORS THIS IDOT YOU ALL ARE IDOTS TO

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jmcvayjr February 10 2014 at 9:28 PM

ENOUGH ENOUGH WHO CARES? THERE IS JUST ONE IMPORTANT QUESTION CAN HE DO THE ONE THING 99% OF ALL PRO FOOTBALL PLAYERS CAN'T DO...CAN HE TACKLE???

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Kay February 10 2014 at 9:18 PM

Who cares what he does in his personal life is his business! I just feel sorry for him that he feels that he has to "come out" about it. As long as he plays football the best that he can is all that should matter. And from what I have read and heard he is some football player and should be taken early in the draft! I say "leave Sam alone to play football" and you do what you have to do in your private life and he can do as he sees fit. I am not gay but I also know several people who are and I do not have a problem with them as long as the do their jobs well who cares! It is not MY PLACE to judge anyone, it is a higher up who will do the judging! We just have to be the best we can and feel we can and should!

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RAPHAEL February 10 2014 at 8:04 PM

Why be one sided about this. Lets then make all bathrooms and locker rooms for everyone including childrens UNISEX. That probably aint gonna work out right huh?. But its okay for LGBT to be in the same room where hetero men or women are peeing or naked ? Doesn't that sound kinda one sided? BTW whats normal about a person with big **** and a dick?????kinda sick if you ask me. Sorry, God didnt create that or wasnt born that way, that was the persons choice thru life . Keep on coming out of the closets people so we know exactly who you are. Someday youre pictures will be on the sexual predators website. HAHA

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tfhewell February 10 2014 at 6:29 PM

I'm straight and I could care less - play ball - ! - The Sad thing is it has to made into such a big deal - If he doesn't hurt anyone leave him alone and let him be himself - God is "THE" only one to make judgment calls such as this - we have "NEVER" earned that right - JUST SAYING - !!!!

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GAIL JOHNSON February 10 2014 at 5:12 PM

How sad for us all ..... as we embrace this "coming out", as if it was good thing, without realizing that it's nothing short of piling heaps of fire & brimstone upon us all , (Sodom & Gomorah style) - as God not only abhors this "SIN" - but has proven that he will destroy any society for "accepting" it so ......

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normandyv February 10 2014 at 5:58 PM

Your angry wrathful God is watching you, Gail. Better be good!

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red65malibuss February 11 2014 at 12:07 PM

and you as well gay boy.

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dtk0820 February 10 2014 at 4:13 PM

he is sooo cute!

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1 reply to dtk0820's comment
red65malibuss February 11 2014 at 12:08 PM

he's a *********** too

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MichaelGEpstein February 10 2014 at 3:41 PM

Congratulations!!!!!!! You are an honest, and inherently brave man. THANKS FOE BEING YOU!!!!!

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