St. Louis Rams Draft First Openly Gay Player Michael Sam
The St. Louis Rams has drafted defensive end Michael Sam, who will become the NFL’s first openly gay player.
Sam was selected Saturday in the seventh round as the 249th overall pick.
The former University of Missouri player came out in February, saying: “I want to own my truth. … No one else should tell my story but me.”
“I understand how big this is. It’s a big deal,” he told ESPN, “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.”
Earlier this week, Sam signed his first endorsement deal, teaming up with Visa. (Get the details here.)
Sam’s announcement followed that of NBA player Jason Collins, who became the first male athlete to come out while active in a major professional sport in April 2013. In January, Conner Mertens, a kicker for Willamette University, became the first active college player in the country to publicly come out.
Wade Davis, a gay former NFL player who’s been working with the league to prepare for its first openly gay player, told USA Today that the Rams’ selection of Sam “is a dream come true for so many football players.” “That’s a realization that all his hard work has paid off,” he continued. “Now he can really start to focus on his new journey.”