Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out as gay on Sunday. Sam went public with his sexual preference in an interview with ESPN’s Outside the Lines, though he says his teammates and coaches have known since August.
“I am an openly, proud gay man,” Sam said.
Sam said he made his decision to come out publicly at the Senior Bowl two weeks ago. After realizing that many people already knew he was gay, the All-American defender did not want to risk having someone else tell his story.
“I didn’t realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me,” he said. “I want to own my truth. … No one else should tell my story but me.”
Sam is eligible to enter the NFL Draft this year, so he could very well become the first openly gay player in the NFL. His revelation came less than two weeks after a Division-III kicker became the first openly gay player in college football.