NFL hopeful Michael Sam comes out as gay: video

Sun Feb 9, 2014 11:31pm EST
 
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By Edith Honan

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Michael Sam, a star college football player who is potentially a top prospect in the National Football League's upcoming draft, came out as gay in a video posted on the New York Times website on Sunday, and could become the NFL's first openly gay player.

"I'm Michael Sam. I'm a football player and I'm gay," Sam, a defensive lineman, said in the video. "I just want to own my truth before anyone breaks a story about me."

Even as 17 states and the federal government have moved toward expanding gay rights, including same-sex marriage, U.S. sports have been seen as lagging in its acceptance of gay and lesbian athletes.

Gay rights organizations greeted Sam's announcement with enthusiasm. Sarah Kate Ellis, the president of GLAAD, a media advocacy organization, said Sam had "rewritten the script for countless young athletes."

"With acceptance of (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender) people rising across our coasts - in our schools, churches, and workplaces - it's clear that America is ready for an openly gay football star," she said in a statement.

The NFL also released a statement on Sunday in support of Sam.

"We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL," the league said in a statement on its website. "We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."

Sam was a defensive lineman for the University of Missouri's Mizzou Tigers until he graduated in December.   Continued...