Michael Sam became the first openly gay football player to be drafted to a professional football team, the St. Louis Rams, this past Saturday. Sam was picked in the seventh round of the NFL draft, taken with the 249th overall pick out of a total of 256.
Earlier this year, long before the draft, Sam came out, revealing to the public is sexual orientation. He played college football for Missouri, where his team and coaches knew about this aspect of his life, but did not reveal it during the whole of his final college season. That year turned out to be the best so far of his career, becoming the Southeastern Conference’s best defensive player of the year.
Sam is 6 feet and 2 inches and weighs 255 pounds, and was considered a mid-to-late round pick- not at all a sure thing to be drafted. In college he was a defensive end, but compared to NFL pros he is a bit short for that position. He will most likely have to transition to outside linebacker, a position he is considered a bit slow for.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell stated that Sam will be accepted and welcome into the league and judged entirely on his abilities. Some observers questioned whether teams would want to draft Sam due to all the media attention it would draw.