NFL Prospect Michael Sam Proudly Says He’s Gay [Video]

All-American defensive lineman Michael Sam revealed to the whole world that he is a gay.

Michael Sam appeared to be the first openly gay in NFL. The NFL star and an All-American defensive lineman from Missouri revealed that he is gay in an interview with ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” on Sunday.

Michael says he decided to state publicly what his friends, family, team and coaches at Mizzou have known since August: “I am an openly, proud gay man.”

As ESPN reports, Sam is eligible for the NFL draft in May. Taking into account his draft, Sam could become the first openly gay player in the history of the NFL.

“I understand how big this is,” he said. “It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”

“In 2014, “Gay Man to Enter Workforce” has the everyday-occurrence sound of a headline in The Onion. But when the NFL is involved, it’s a first – and potentially a landmark moment – in the history of American sports,” ESPN notes.

All-American defensive’s decision to unveil his true charater and preferences now – in interviews with leading publications – comes after his experience two weeks ago at the Senior Bowl, where, he said, many already seemed aware of his sexual orientation.

“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. “I want to own my truth. … No one else should tell my story but me.”

Sam admitted that had already confided in a few close friends. He went on, adding that since he had dated a fellow athlete who was not a football player – so while coming out to his Mizzou teammates last year was a key moment.

“Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we’re from, and something that no one knows about you,” Sam said. “And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, ‘Michael Sam finally told us.’ ”

Asked what that moment felt like, Sam said, “I was kind of scared, even though they already knew. Just to see their reaction was awesome. They supported me from Day One. I couldn’t have better teammates. … I’m telling you what: I wouldn’t have the strength to do this today if I didn’t know how much support they’d given me this past semester.”

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement that he’s proud of Sam: “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.”

He added: “Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he’s taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we’re all on the same team and we all support each other.”

On Sunday night, the NFL also released a statement which voiced support for honest Sam.

“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage,” NFL senior vice president of communications Greg Aiello said. “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.”

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