Michael Sam May Be NFL's First Out Gay Player

[Content Note: Homophobia.]

This weekend, Missouri All-American and NFL prospect Michael Sam disclosed publicly what the people close to him, including his teammates and coaches, already knew: He is gay.
"I am an openly proud gay man," Sam, 24, was quoted as saying in reports posted Sunday by ESPN and the New York Times.

Sam, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound all-American, made his announcement two weeks before the annual NFL scouting combine, and early reaction Sunday evening suggested his decision was meant in part to answer questions he'll face anyway in Indianapolis.

"I am proud to tell my story to the world!" was among several messages posted on Sam's Twitter account late Sunday.

...Now much of the draft's attention will center on whether Sam's announcement affects his draft stock. Sam, projected to be chosen as high as the third round in May's draft, can point to his résumé and that of his overachieving team. He had 111/2 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles alongside teammates who, Sam said, already knew his secret. He told the ESPN and Times reporters that he came out before the 2013 season when, during a team gathering, each player was asked to reveal something about himself that no one knew.

"I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out," the Times quoted Sam as saying.

Teammates and coaches did not out Sam, even during a high-profile season and the increased attention that came with being a national title contender.

"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," Tigers Coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement released Sunday by the school.

...Sam said, according to the reports, his announcement was prompted in part by circulating rumors two weeks ago at the Senior Bowl, where NFL team representatives gather to scout players entering the draft. It hastened his original plan, he said, to come out after the draft.

"I didn't realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me," he said, according to ESPN. "I want to own my truth. ...No one else should tell my story but me."
Right on, Michael Sam.

Already, a bunch of NFL dirtbags are anonymously talking to the media saying the league "isn't ready" for an out gay player, because there's still so much homophobia in locker rooms. Welp, time to make a rule against expressed homophobia in locker rooms, I guess! PUT A DOLLAR IN THE HOMOPHOBE JAR.

It's interesting these concern trolls are definitely totally absolutely sure that the NFL is too homophobic for an out gay player, but aren't willing to go on record saying that. Maybe the NFL isn't actually as homophobic as they think. Maybe that's just the perception of bigots who imagine that potential divisiveness is the fault of an out gay player, and not the teammates who would allegedly create a hostile environment for him.

Maybe there are lots of players, of all sexual orientations, who would be relieved if the NFL corporate leadership prioritized abolishing demeaning, bigoted, bullying language in locker rooms.

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