Former MU football player comes out as gay, may be NFL's first openly gay player

Feb 10, 2014

Michael Sam
Credit Karen Mitchell / KBIA

Former Missouri Tigers football player Michael Sam publicly came out as gay Sunday in interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports.

Michael Sam was a first team All-American defensive lineman and was named the SEC's defensive player of the year this past season, his last one in college football. His announcement is making headlines because he is widely expected to be drafted into the NFL later this year. If he gets picked by one of the league's 32 teams, Sam would be the NFL's first openly gay player.

Cyd Ziegler is the cofounder of Outsports, a sports website that helped break the story. He said Sam's coming out is a monumental day for the LGBT community.

"It's the most important coming out, I think, that the, the gay sports world has had, and maybe that gay people in general have had," Ziegler said. "So, it's super important and I think we're going to see the repercussions of it for years to come."

In an interview with The New York Times, Sam said he came out to his teammates this past August. Many of them have taken to Twitter to post messages supporting their former teammate.