Michael Sam second in NFL rookie jersey sales
Sales of openly gay and newly drafted NFL defensive end Michael Sam’s jersey are second to only one other rookie player.
Sam made history on Saturday as the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL, joining the Rams in the seventh draft.
Now it is expected that Sam will land more endorsement deals, as companies may be persuaded to sign deals with the player.
“Every firm wanted to take a wait-and-see approach,” said Cameron Weiss, who represents Sam. “Now we have waited and are seeing.”
The only higher selling jersey is that of quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was selected in the first round of the NFL draft on 8 May.
“This is unprecedented for a Day 3 pick, let alone a seventh round pick, to crack the top five rookies sold following Draft weekend,” the NFL’s Joanna Hunter said.
“We think this is a sign of what we’ve been saying all along, that Michael’s inclusion in the NFL is bringing fans into the game who weren’t previously consumers of the NFL game,” Weiss told ESPN.
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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”.