Missouri defensive end Michael Sam has come out of the closet setting him up to be the first openly gay player in the NFL.
“I understand how big this is,” Sam said, via ESPN. “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.”
The NFL has released a statement on the announcement.
“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. 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.”
The NFL’s statement on NFL Draft Prospect Michael Sam announcing he’s gay. >> pic.twitter.com/Mnz412VCnp
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) February 10, 2014
Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel also supported Sam in a statement.
“We’re really happy for Michael that he’s made the decision to announce this, and we’re proud of him and how he represents Mizzou,” Pinkel said. “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.”