NFL draft prospect comes out to world

2014 NFL Draft
Sam is one of many hopefuls that are nervously waiting to hear their names called in this April’s NFL draft. The projected overall pick will be quarterback Johnny Manziel out of Texas A&M. Last year’s first overall pick was Eric Fisher who went to the Kansas City Chiefs. Image by Zach Fritzhand.

Missouri defensive end Michael Sam admitted to ESPN that he is gay. He was the 2013 SEC’s co- defensive player of the year and a highly talented prospect entering the 2014  draft.

The news broke a month before the NFL combine where all the prospects show off all of their skills. He will become the first openly gay NFL player in its 94 year history.

“I am an openly proud gay man,” said Sam who told ESPN.

Sam, a six-foot two-inch 255 pound all-American said his announcement came before the NFL scouting combine because he wanted to answer questions he will face anyway in Indianapolis, where the event is held.

At the beginning of the season, Sam announced to his team that he was gay. At the time, Missouri was picked to finish sixth in the SEC East but instead they finished 12 and two.

They lost in the SEC championship to National Championship runner-up Auburn. Missouri finished their season with a win against Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

Sam has a strong answer when NFL coaches and executives ask him about his sexuality with play in a professional locker room. Some players have already spoken out talking about their reluctance playing alongside a gay teammate, and others have said they do not have a problem playing alongside as long as their play was satisfactory.

“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,” Tiger’s Coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement released by the school.

Sam is not the first player to come out; last April former NBA player Jason Collins said he was gay. Former NFL offensive tackle Kwame Harris also came out last year. His teammate at the time, Chris Culliver prompted a negative reaction.

Sam accomplished what people have yet to do and that is publicly announce that they are gay months before entering the draft. This will open the door for professional athletes that have been hiding in the dark for their entire life.