User ID
Password
  Forgot User ID
or Register Today!
VegasInsider.com
Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on Google+ VI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto Racing
Horses
More
Betting Tools

 
Reports: Missouri All-American says he is gay

New Sportsbook.ag customers: Make your 1st bet, get your 2nd bet free, 100%, winnings paid in cash.
Join Now

Already have an account? Click here to view new Exclusive Rewards!

Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.

Advertisement
In interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports that were published Sunday, Sam said he came out to all his teammates and coaches at Missouri in August.

''I am an openly, proud gay man,'' he said.

Sam will participate in the NFL combine later this month in Indianapolis and is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick in May.

''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,'' he told ESPN.

The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month after leading the Southeastern Conference in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19). He was the SEC defensive player of the year.

There have been a few NFL players who have come out after their playing days, including Kwame Harris and Dave Kopay.

Last year, NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay after the season. Collins, a 35-year-old backup center, was a free agent when he came out and has not signed with a new team this season. MLS star and U.S. national team player Robbie Rogers also came out a year ago.

''His courage will inspire millions to live their truth,'' Rogers tweeted about Sam.

Division III Willamette kicker Conner Mertens, a redshirt freshman, said last month he was bisexual.

''We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage,'' the NFL said in statement. ''Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.''

Sam's announcement comes at a time gay rights issues and sports have collided at the Olympics in Sochi. Russia's anti-gay law has received much attention, and criticism, because of the games.

''By rewriting the script for countless young athletes, Michael has demonstrated the leadership that, along with his impressive skills on the field, makes him a natural fit for the NFL,'' said Sarah Kate Ellis, president of GLAAD, a leading lesbian gay, bisexual and transgender media advocacy organization. ''With acceptance of LGBT people rising across our coasts - in our schools, churches, and workplaces - it's clear that America is ready for an openly gay football star.''

The NFL's sexual orientation, anti-discrimination and harassment policy states:

Coaches, General Managers and others responsible for interviewing and hiring draft-eligible players and free agents must not seek information concerning or make personnel decisions based on a player's sexual orientation. This includes asking questions during an interview that suggest that the player's sexual orientation will be a factor in the decision to draft or sign him.

Examples: Do you like women or men? How well do you do with the ladies? Do you have a girlfriend?

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams tweeted: ''I could care less about a man's sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!''

Williams' teammate, cornerback Drayton Florence, posted on his Twitter account: ''No comment but it can be a distraction in the locker room. At least he's open with it much respect!''

Sam said many people at the Senior Bowl, an all-star game for NFL prospects, seemed to know he was gay.

''I didn't realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me,'' he told ESPN. ''I want to own my truth. ... No one else should tell my story but me.''

Sam told the Times he dated a man on the Missouri swim team and came out to teammates L'Damian Washington and Marvin Foster about a year ago, before letting the whole team know during last preseason.

''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.'''

Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said in a statement Sunday night he was proud of Sam and how he represented the program.

''Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he's taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn't matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we're all on the same team and we all support each other,'' Pinkel said. ''If Michael doesn't have the support of his teammates like he did this past year, I don't think there's any way he has the type of season he put together.''

Missouri linebacker Donovan Bonner was a teammate of Sam's for five years.

''We knew of his status for 5 years and not one team member, coach, or staff member said anything says a lot about our family atmosphere,'' Bonner tweeted.

---

AP Sports Writer Steve Reed in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.

---

Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved

  
HEADLINES
Marshall: Tech Trends - Week 1
Edwards: Saturday's Tip Sheet
Williams: ACC Report - Week 1
Sportsbook: Saturday's SEC Action
ASA: Big Ten Report - Week 1
David: Total Notes - Week 1
Williams: Pac-12 Report - Week 1
Hunter: Top 5 Win Totals
Arizona rolls over UNLV, 'over' cashes
MORE HEADLINES
 
2013 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1921
Joe Nelson + 1446
Bruce Marshall + 1350
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Joe Nelson 60 %
Doc's Sports 57 %
Joe Williams 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1312
Brian Edwards + 580
James Manos + 443
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Joe Williams + 1283
Jimmy Boyd + 966
James Manos + 756
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Mike Rose + 1100
Doc's Sports + 1090
Joe Nelson + 940
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB College Football Expert Sports Picks- Georgia Southern Eagles at North Carolina State Wolfpack
2014 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Michael Black + 543
Paul Bovi + 200
Dave Cokin + 200
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
No Games Last Week  
   
   
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Paul Bovi 100 %
Joe Nelson 100 %
Dave Cokin 100 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 200
Stephen Nover + 200
Pat Hawkins + 200
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Stephen Nover + 300
Tony Stoffo + 200
Bruce Marshall + 200
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Tony Stoffo + 300
Michael Black + 130
Marc Lawrence + 100
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!