Michael Sam has become the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL after being given a place by the St Louis Rams. Here are some of the best reactions since the news broke late on Saturday.
1. The Ever Outspoken Chris Kluwe and his Dazzling Pun
Former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, who became famous for his outspoken and verbally spectacular replies to anit-gay epithets being thrown around within the sport and by Minnesota lawmakers, took to Twitter on hearing the news and voiced his support for Michael Sam while having a small dig at the NFL, saying:
“At least one team finally showed some balls. Good job Rams.”
2. Sam’s former Coach at the Missouri Tigers
With the news that Michael Sam had been drafted, a number of his former college coaches have congratulated him while explaining why they believe that this is a game changer. University of Missouri Tigers’ head coach Gary Pinkel, speaking at a press conference about this important moment, is quoted as saying:
“The last 24 hours have been amazing. This decision is going to affect our society, in hopefully a very, very positive way.”
Pinkel also took the time to dispute claims he and other Missouri coaches had encouraged Sam to stay quiet about his sexuality before he came out in February, adding, “Somebody reported that, but I don’t care what they say, that was 100% his choice…Whatever he decided, we were going to do. And that’s fact, and anybody that says any different, hasn’t done their research or they’re not telling the truth.”
Sam has consistently stated that Pinkel and the team were supportive of him and his decisions.
3. How to Talk to Your Kids About Michael Sam
When confronted with an openly gay person, one of the go-to arguments of the Religious Right is “How will I tell my kids about this?” The folks at Heck Bender have this covered with an instructional video on how to talk to your kids about Michael Sam’s place in the NFL. Enjoy.
4. President Obama Praises the NFL and Sam
The Obama administration, asked to comment on Michael Sam’s signing, told ABC news that the President believed this to be a “step forward” not just for the game, but for America too, saying:
“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.”
5. Michael Sam’s Own Reaction: Victory Celebrated with a Kiss
Out of all the reactions though, perhaps the best came from Michael Sam himself. ESPN was on hand to film Sam and his partner Vito Cammisano as they learned the news that Sam had been picked by the St Louis Rams. Their reaction was, well, fairly typical of a couple overcome by such joyous news (and that itself speaks volumes). Watch it below:
6. What’s Next for Missouri State?
While we can all hail Michael Sam’s being picked for a place in the NFL, there’s also room to comment about larger questions surrounding his climb into the footballing ranks. While the NFL has a sexual orientation-inclusive nondiscrimination policy, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) pointed out on Twitter that Missouri state, however, lacks any such protections:
“Michael Sam could still be fired for just being gay according to MO law. Let’s fix that [in] Jeff City.”
Indeed, LGBT rights groups have been quick to applaud Sam’s role in the NFL while also expressing hopes that his high-profiled position will allow lawmakers and others within the state to see that it is past time to start work on ensuring LGBT citizens are treated equally.
Congratulations to Michael Sam, and here’s hoping that soon he can transition from being “the first openly gay player” to just “a great player.”