Michael Sam earns national praise, support Live

Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam hopes to become the first openly gay man to play in the NFL.

The SEC's Defensive Player of the Year shared those dreams with ESPN and the New York Times in interviews Sunday.


"I understand how big this is," he told ESPN in an interview for its "Outside the Lines" show. "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be . . . I want to be a football player in the NFL."

Sam said this news would come as no surprise to his coaches and teammates at Mizzou.They had that discussion in August.

"Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we're from, and something that no one knows about you," Sam told ESPN. "And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, 'Michael Sam finally told us.' "

Sam opted to speak to media outlets after his experiences at the Senior Bowl, where he sensed his sexual orientation wasn't much of a secret within NFL circles.

"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."

Here is how the Twitterverse responded:



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