NFL supports first openly gay football player in history

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NFL supports first openly gay football player in history

Mizzou's defensive player of the year goes into the NFL Draft making history.

Mizzou's defensive player of the year goes into the NFL Draft making history.

Creative Commons

Mizzou's defensive player of the year goes into the NFL Draft making history.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Mizzou's defensive player of the year goes into the NFL Draft making history.

Richard Lee, Staff Writer

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Michael Sam, a defensive lineman at the University of Missouri, has broken grounds by speaking publicly about his sexual orientation. Voted as most valuable player on his team and named the Associated Press defensive player of the year, Sam is undeniably talented and may become the first openly-homosexual player in the NFL.

Sam is 24 years old and he has  just completed his senior season at Missouri. He is one of the top pass rushers in the country and is headed to the NFL draft.

In a recent interview with The New York Times, Sam said that his teammates were accepting of his decision to “come out” before the draft. However, he still is uncertain how teams and players in the NFL will react.

Earlier this week, the NFL released a statement about Sam saying “We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”

In the past few years, the gay rights movement has expanded quickly throughout the United States, but the sports industry has undergone little to no change. There are still no openly-declared homosexuals in the NFL, the NBA, NHL, or Major League Baseball. Unfortunately, Sam’s decision to publicly declare his sexuality may affect his chances of being drafted as a professional football player.

Despite this, Sam is not letting his sexual orientation spoil his football career. When questioned about his choice by ESPN, he said, “I just want to make sure I can tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth.”

Whether or not Sam will actually be drafted into the league is difficult to predict. With controversies ranging from anti-gay statements being made to players being cut from the job, the NFL presents an environment that can potentially be discriminatory.

On the other hand, famous athletes, countless football fans, and even President Obama have praised Sam for his bravery, indicating widespread approval of his decision. Regardless of the NFL’s final choice, Sam has made an undoubtedly courageous act that will influence homosexual athletes for generations to come.

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