With today being Juneteenth, it's fitting to cover an African American athlete that had an impact not that long ago. But it's also fitting for Pride Month to cover that same athlete. Here's a bio on Michael Sam, a former NFL player.
Sam was the first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, being drafted in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. Sam was a standout defensive end at Missouri, being named a consensus All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year at Missouri. Sam was also First-Team All-SEC in 2013 and won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award in 2014.
Before his standout career at Missouri, Sam was on the first-team all-districts for Hitchcock (TX) in all four of his seasons as a defensive tackle and in his junior and senior year as an offensive tackle. Aside from the Missouri Tigers, Sam received offers from Arizona State, Colorado State, and the University of Houston. Initially, Sam wanted to go to Texas A&M, where he even waited for an offer from the Aggies.
Sam was cut by the Rams before the 2014 season started, but was picked up by the Dallas Cowboys for their practice squad. Sam played one season in the CFL for the Montreal Aloulettes in 2015, making him the first openly gay CFL player. Sam retired in 2015 for mental health reasons, becoming a life coach and motivational speaker in his post-football life. In 2016, Sam spoke with LGBTQ advocacy groups at the Missouri State Capitol about a bill that allowed LGBTQ discrimination.
Although Sam didn't have much of an NFL career, he's still a prominent figure in NFL history. He will be remembered for his standout career as a Missouri Tiger, that's for sure. But Sam will definitely be remembered for the impact he's had for numerous LGBTQ athletes.
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