Michael Sam, a football player who recently graduated from the University of Missouri, publicly came out as gay in a video posted to The New York Times’ website this weekend. “I’m coming out now because I want to own my truth,” Sam said. “I didn’t want anyone to break a story without me telling it. … I can’t tell society to agree with this or not agree with this, but hopefully society will rally around this and support me, too. ”
As Missouri’s most valuable player and one of the top defensive linemen in college football, the 24-year-old Texan is expected to be an early-round NFL draft pick. He would be the first-ever openly gay player in the NFL.
In his Times video, Sam shared that he came out to his Mizzou team last August. “They rallied around me, they supported me,” he said. “If my team could support me, any team could support me.”
Although he was nervous, Sam said it wasn’t difficult to come out to his teammates, because people already knew. Additionally, he said his family suspected he was gay and were waiting for him to come out. They’ve been loving and embracing as well. “I couldn’t be prouder of my parents of how supportive they were of me ,” he said.
Michael Sam also said he doesn’t want to be defined as a “gay football player.” “I may be the first [player to be publicly out in the NFL], but I won’t be the last,” he said.
The National Football League released a statement on Sunday night:
“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the N.F.L. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”
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[Image via New York Times]