President Barack Obama Sunday issued a statement congratulating Michael Sam, who made history Saturday when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, ABC News reports.
“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,” the White House said in a statement.
Sam, who led the Southeast Conference in sacks with 11.5 in the 2013 season as a player for the University of Missouri and was named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year announced that he was gay at the end of the season, ABC reports.
He broke down in tears Saturday when he learned that the St. Louis Rams had picked him in the seventh and final round of the National Football League draft.
The All-American defensive end, who played for the University of Missouri, also made history as the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL.
Rams’ coach Jeff Fisher broke the news to the 24-year-old by phone, as several friends stood by to support him.
“You are a Ram,” Fisher said. “The wait is finally over.”
Sam broke down in tears in the arms of his lover. “Thank you,” his voice crackled in the moment that was captured by ESPN.
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