Sam, who was named the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-SEC selection during his senior year at Missouri, is expected to be a top pick in this year’s NFL Draft next month. Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin issued the following statement regarding the news:
“Michael Sam has made history with his courageous decision to come out at the beginning of his professional career, but even more importantly, he’s provided essential hope to millions of LGBT young people from the South, across the country and around the world. Trailblazers like Michael are tearing down barriers to equality almost daily, and I sincerely believe that the young person who will go on to become the first openly LGBT President of the United States watches today’s news somewhere in this country and is inspired.
“We must of course also recognise heroes like Billie Jean King, Renee Richards, Greg Louganis, and the many others who courageously paved the way for athletes like Michael Sam to come out.”
Sam joins a growing list of notable athletes who have come out recently, including Jason Collins, Robbie Rogers, Brittney Griner, Orlando Cruz, Megan Rapinoe, Lori Lindsey, and Tom Daley.