Michael Sam comes out: Could be the first openly gay professional football player

Greg Smith, Sports Editor

Former defensive end for the Missouri Tigers, Michael Sam, is looking to become the first openly gay football player in the National Football League. Finishing his senior year at Missouri as one of the top defensive ends, Sam declared for the NFL draft. However, he had an announcement to make prior to the draft.

With support from his teammates at Missouri, Sam felt comfortable sharing his sexuality. He told them in late August before the season started. Head coach of the Missouri Tigers, Gary Pinkel, said, “We’re really happy for Michael that he’s made the decision to announce this, and we’re proud of how he represents Mizzou.” According to Pinkel, Sam is a great example of how people should learn to respect others and their decisions no matter what they are.

Recently, Sam was elected to play in the annual Senior Bowl for collegiate football players. In his interview, he stated that he was surprised at how many players already knew about his sexual orientation. Sam said, “I didn’t realize how many people already knew, and I was afraid would tell or leak something out about me.”

Even though Sam had the support of his teammates, he didn’t have the support of his father. In an interview, Sam’s father said “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment. I am an old school man-and-woman type of guy.” Now, he is denying all of his anti-gay remarks towards his son as it is becoming a national story.

Although some former NFL players have admitted they were gay, this would be the first player to be openly gay and play in the NFL at the same time. According to Sam, he is not embarrassed by his decision at all because he is proud of what he stands for.