Michael Sam, the University of Missouri football player who came out as a gay man on ESPN in February, became the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team when the St. Louis Rams took him with the 249th section in the NFL draft today.
Sam, who was a unanimous 2013 All-America selection and the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, was taken in the seventh round.
The 6-foot 2-inch, 260-pound defensive end, who watched the draft surrounded by his family, friends, and his boyfriend, broke down in tears when he received the call from the St. Louis organization informing him that they had selected him. Recovering, Sam hugged and kissed his boyfriend to the cheers of wellwishers.
Speaking with ESPN, Rams coach Jeff Fisher said, “”In a world of diversity we live in, I am honored to be a part of this.”
Fisher added that Sam was drafted solely for his football ability.
“We drafted a good football player,” Fisher said.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that the crowd at Madison Square Garden, where fans can watch the draft in person, chanted Sam’s name after his selection.
Sam will now get the opportunity to continue his career hours away from the University of Missouri campus where he led his team to a 12-2 record and a Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State in 2013.
Watch video of Sam receiving the call from the Rams below, uploaded by Tristan Thornburgh:
[Image from Michael Sam Twitter account]
Tom Boggioni is based in the quaint seaside community of Pacific Beach in less quaint San Diego. He writes about politics, media, culture, and other annoyances. Mostly he spends his days at the beach gazing at the horizon waiting for the end of the world, or the sun to go down. Whichever comes first.
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