I am a openly, proud gay man. I want to be a football player in the NFL. — Michael Sam (@MichaelSam52) February 10, 2014
- Chris Mortensen adds that Sam’s agents are working with the league to find an “amicable solution for demands at Combine so he can focus on testing.”
NFL Statement regarding Sam’s announcement:
“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. 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.”
NFL’s Anti-Discriminstion Policy Regarding Sexual Orientation:
In April 2013, Commissioner Roger Goodell sent the NFL’s sexual orientation anti-discrimination and harassment policy to all club presidents, coaches and general managers who made it available to all players and staff. Click here for the policy.
Potential Impact on his Draft Stock:
Peter King mentions that it would be “naive” to think this will not have an effect on his draft status.
- King anticipates a “significant drop” in Sam’s draft stock due to a “publicity circus and an NFL locker room culture not prepared to deal with an openly gay player.“
“I don’t think football is ready for it just yet,” said an NFL player personnel assistant, via SI.com. “In the coming decade or two, it’s going to be acceptable, but at this point in time it’s still a man’s man game. To call somebody a [gay slur] is still so commonplace. It’d chemically imbalance an NFL locker room and meeting room.“
“I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down,” said a veteran NFL scout, via SI.com. “There’s no question about it. It’s human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote ‘break that barrier?‘”
A unnamed GM told King that; “We don’t think he’s a very good player. The reality is he’s an overrated player in out estimation.”
A former GM told King that it would take an “NFL franchise with a strong owner, savvy general manager and veteran coach to make drafting Sam work” and listed the Steelers, Packers, 49ers, Ravens and Colts.
- Mike Freeman spoke with an NFL scout who listed the Seahawks, Patriots, Packers, Colts and Giants as the five best locker rooms for Sam.
- ESPN’s Adam Schefter mentions that Sam is projected to be a “mid-round pick” in this year’s NFL Draft.
- Dane Brugler hasn’t spoken with a single NFL scout or analyst who believes Sam is “top-100 guy” and expects him to be a late-round draft pick.
- Albert Breer tweets that several NFL people already knew about the situation and have had time to digest it.
- Breer spoke with an NFC executive who mentioned that intangibles are big for a player making conversion like Sam will be at the NFL level and he’s his decision as a positive.
- A GM told Breer that the right locker room, right head coach and the right city will be important for Sam and cited San Diego and Manti Te’o as an example.
Missouri Tigers DE Michael Sam, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, has informed multiple media outlets including ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and the New York Times that he is an “openly, proud gay man.”
“I understand how big this is,” he said, via ESPN.com. “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.”
Sam’s Mizzou teammates and coaches have been aware of this since August and he believes several players at the Senior Bowl were also aware of his sexual orientation.
“I didn’t realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me,” he said. “I want to own my truth. … No one else should tell my story but me.”
“Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we’re from, and something that no one knows about you,” Sam said. “And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, ‘Michael Sam finally told us.’ ”
Sam, 24, finished his senior season at Missouri totaling 48 tackles, 19 for a loss, 11.5 sacks and two forced fumbles.