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Views & Analysis

May 11, 2014

Michael Sam Makes NFL History

Michael Sam made history today by becoming the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team.

Standing in front of ESPN news cameras, Sam, an All-American defensive lineman from the University of Missouri, broke down in tears, hugging and kissing his boyfriend after hearing from St. Louis Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher: “You are a Ram. The wait is finally over.”

In addition to adding some more talent to their roster, the Rams’ selection of Sam marks a turning point in the history of the NFL.

This is a huge moment, not only for Sam, but for the NFL and every athlete, coach, and fan across the country and around the world who now has a new role model in the 24-year-old, 6’ 2’’, 260-pound recipient of the co-defensive player of the year for the Southeastern Conference.

Sam’s experience being an openly gay player will be one of the standards by which the league will be measured and will no doubt influence the decisions of future LGBT athletes and allies to come out publicly.

Sam’s draft status has been watched closely since he had the courage to come out in February, and today’s news ends speculation that his decision to come out might negatively impact his chances in the draft.

NCLR congratulates Sam, his family, the Rams, and all the queer youth who have watched football over the years and dreamed of one Sunday seeing themselves represented on the field.

The wait is finally over indeed.

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