by: Chris Legeros Updated:
SEATTLE, Wash. - An All-American football player from Missouri rocked the sports world Sunday.
Defensive lineman Michael Sam announced that he was gay just months before the NFL draft, which means he could become the first openly gay player in the league.
In an interview with the New York Times, Sam said, “I don’t think I should be defined as Michael Sam, the gay athelete, the gay football player. I want to define Michael Sam for being a great person and having great character.”
Immediately, the NFL came out with a statement supporting Sam. It said, "We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage.”
The Seahawks’ Malcolm Smith tweeted, "There is no room for bigotry in American Sports. It takes courage to change the culture."
Hall of Famer Deion Sanders said, "Let's show him love like a family member."
At a Seattle sports bar, Kristin Munn said, “it’s an amazing thing just to be honest like that and I really appreciate that. Go Michael Sam.”
Many Seahawks fans have tweeted pleas for the team to draft Sam in May.
Bryan O’Neill said, “Come here to Seattle and be a part of our team and then you can be anything you want.”
David Kopay is a former UW Husky and pro football player who revealed he was gay in 1975, three years after his career ended.
He had dinner with Michael Sam Saturday. We reached Kopay at his California home Sunday, and asked about Sam’s announcement. He said, “I’m excited for him. He’s a standup kind of guy. I think that it’s great that he’s doing it before the draft, because whatever team he goes to will take care of him.”