Michael Sam is the first openly gay player in the history of the National Football League, and he’s a St. Louis Ram.
Sam, who came out as gay after ending his college career as a defensive end at Missouri, was selected by the Rams late in the seventh round, with the 249th overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft.
The Rams made history by welcoming the first openly gay player to the NFL, and by keeping Sam in Missouri, they ensured that he’ll be in front of a supportive fan base.
Sam is a former SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and the NFL will face some criticism from those who believe that Sam’s sexual orientation kept him from being selected until late on the final day of the draft. But it’s more likely that it was Sam’s workout at the Scouting Combine that caused his draft stock to drop: Sam struggled in his workouts, and many personnel people simply didn’t think he had the athletic talent to make it in the NFL.
Whatever the reasons, Sam lasted until the Rams decided to take him late in the draft, and he’ll join one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. He still has to battle just to make the Rams’ roster, but he has earned the opportunity.