Football Players React After Potential NFL Draftee Comes Out

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A football first from an NFL prospect: University of Missouri football player Michael Sam announced Sunday that he’s gay. He’s expected to be a mid-round pick in the NFL Draft in May.

Mary Bubala reports players are reacting, including some from the Ravens.

“I’m not afraid of who I am. I’m not afraid to tell the world who I am,” Sam said.

University of Missouri All-American football player Michael Sam came out Sunday.

“I am an openly proud gay man,” Sam said.

If an NFL team drafts him later this year, as expected, he’ll become the first openly gay pro football player.

“Michael Sam’s decided to come forward now because there were already rumors about his sexuality and he wanted to come out proudly and on his own terms,” said James Brown, CBS Sports. “But in a sport where no other athlete has done this, it’s a bold move.”

Sam told his college teammates last August.

“They took it great. They rallied around me. They supported me and I couldn’t ask for better teammates,” Sam said.

Missouri Coach Gary Pinkel said Sam has “taught a lot of people here 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.”

New York Times sports columnist Bill Rhoden says Sam’s future teammates may have plenty to say.

“The NFL locker room is a tough place. There’s going to be some teasing, some razzing about it. Hopefully it will be, quote, unquote, good-natured,” he said.

So far, support for Sam has been pouring in, including from Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith. He posted the news on his Twitter account and said, “Good for him.” Former Raven and gay rights supporter Brendon Ayanbadejo met with Sam recently to write an article for Fox about the player’s courage in coming forward.

In a statement, the NFL said it admired Sam’s honesty and courage.

The NFL has had other players announce they were gay but they did so after their playing careers were over.

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