Michael Sam makes history as first openly gay NFL player
Michael Sam has made history, becoming the first openly gay player on an NFL team, as he joins the St Louis Rams in the final stage of the draft.
Michael Sam, a University of Missouri football player came out in an ESPN interview on 9 February.
The Rams tweeted on Saturday to confirm that Sam had been drafted with the 249th pick, in the seventh round of the NFL draft.
— St. Louis Rams (@STLouisRams) May 10, 2014
Twitter lit up with speculation over possible outcomes, some saying they hoped his athletic ability would be taken into consideration, others saying it would reflect badly on the NFL if he was not signed.
Many pointed out that he still may have made it as a free agent, if he had not been drafted by a team.
Sam’s new teammates were quick to welcome him to the Rams as the announcement of his draft was made.
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The 6’2″ 255-pound Sam was the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year last year.
Despite expectations that he would be drafted, some experts said his sexuality might have put off prospective teams as a “distraction”.