COLUMBIA, MO (WKOW) -- Michael Sam, a defensive lineman for the University of Missouri, announced yesterday he's gay.
In an exclusive interview with ESPN, Sam says he's coming out publicly now because he wants to control the way the story spreads ahead of the NFL draft in May. He feels being able to come out has taken a load off of his chest.
"Because I'm not afraid of who I am. I'm not afraid to tell the world who I am. I'm Michael Sam. I'm a college graduate. I'm African-American, and I'm gay."
The All-American was expected to be picked up in an early round of the draft. This would make him the first openly gay player in the league. Some say his announcement will hurt his chances of being drafted at all.
Sam says that his sexual orientation shouldn't matter at all.
"If I work hard, if I make plays, that's all that should matter. Can he help us win games? Is he a team player? That's all that should matter. Which I like to see myself as a team player. I can make plays. I can help teams win games, and that's all that should matter."
Some have voiced their opposition about Sam's decision to come out, but several NFL players took to Twitter to share their support in his decision. Sam wouldn't be the first gay man to play in the NFL, however those other players waited until their careers were over to come out.
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