Former Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam may only be projected as a sixth round draft pick in the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft, but that doesn’t seem matter to Sam or his fans, based on the turnout for his first public autograph signing.
Following what was considered by many to be a very impressive pro day, Sam–who looks to be the first openly gay NFL Draft pick–held an autograph signing at the same mall that some fellow Missouri draft prospects had held theirs.
Sam outdrew his teammates by nearly double, having over 300 people flock to his table, according to ESPN.com.
“He has outsold them by at least a 2-1 margin,” Ryan Houston, president of the St. Louis Card Company shop that hosted the mall signing, said per the report.
So what was it costing fans to get a Sharpie-scribble of a man who hasn’t even been drafted to the pros yet? A reported $30 for Mini-helmets and photos and $35 for a magazine autograph. (Before you Johnny Football fans get your Aggies in a wad, Sam is allowed to profit off his name now that he has moved on to the pros. He’s no longer under the watchful eyes of the NCAA).
Sam may or may not end up being a high draft pick, or an impactful player in the NFL, but nobody can doubt his importance in terms of being a ground-breaker. He will be pivotal in bringing about change and a new attitude towards a group of people who, until now, have not had a voice in professional football.