The Washington Post

Obama congratulates Michael Sam, first openly gay player taken in NFL draft

Michael Sam is the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL. Upon hearing he was chosen by the St. Louis Rams, ESPN video of Sam's tearful reaction and kiss with his boyfriend went viral. (Nicki DeMarco/The Washington Post)

President Obama offered his congratulations to Michael Sam on being the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, hailing it as proving that “you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”

The NFL’s historic moment came early Saturday evening when Sam, an All-America defensive end at the University of Missouri, was taken by the St. Louis Rams with the eighth-to-last pick of the NFL draft.

“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation’s journey,” the White House said in a statement emailed to reporters (via ABC News). “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.”

Sam learned shortly before 7 p.m. that his professional career would begin in the same state in which he had so much college success.

“Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis,” Sam tweeted. “I’m using every once of this to achieve greatness!!” He may have been excited, but he corrected his spelling of “ounce” just moments later.


After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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Cindy Boren · May 11, 2014