Support for Michael Sam has officially reached the Oval Office.
In a taped interview that aired during TNT’s pregame coverage of the NBA All-Star Game, President Barack Obama applauds University of Missouri football player Michael Sam for announcing he is gay before the NFL draft.
“I really like the fact that Michael did it before the draft because his attitude was, ‘You know what, I know who I am,” Obama told Charles Barkley. “‘I know I can play great football and judge me on [my] merits.'”
Michael Sam could become the NFL’s first openly gay player which has been met with both praise and protest. For every positive endorsement, like the one President Obama showered on Sam, there are equally as many who are looking to provoke controversy.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the Westboro Baptist Church, known for their disruptive protests at high profile events, tried to do so earlier this week. However in this case, they were denied by a wall of of Missouri students supporting their star player.
Michael Sam came out to teammates before the start of the college season last August, but chose not reveal his sexuality until last week, prior to the NFL Draft. Since then, every one from first lady Michelle Obama and beyond have weighed in as the All-American defensive end tries to become the first openly gay player in NFL history. And while draft experts project him as a middle-round pick there are questions about whether or not the NFL is ready for an openly gay player.
One current NFL player, 2013’s Defensive Rookie of the Year, Sheldon Richardson, thinks they are:
“Most definitely,” Richardson, a defensive lineman for the New York Jets – and Sam’s former college roommate – told SportsNet New York‘s Jeane Coakley in an interview. However he did add, “unless your team is immature minded. If guys can’t get past that then, I mean, it’s just crazy. Of course, it might be weird at first if you aren’t used to it, ’cause like I said, with me living with him, it was a little bit unusual at first. But it’s stuff you look past.”
When asked if Richardson was proud of Sam’s announcement before the NFL Draft, he declared:
“I’m am, actually. He had his best season when he came out to the team, so I’m actually happy for him. It worked out for him [and] didn’t go the opposite way, because I know he was scared and nervous, just for him to be himself. Just him getting that monkey off his back was well worth it ’cause he had his best season of football at Mizzou.”
What do you think? Do you agree with President Barack Obama’s feelings about Michael Sam’s announcement that he is gay prior to the NFL Draft? Or do you feel the NFL is not ready for an openly gay player?