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    NFL prospect Michael Sam busts out of the closet

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    All-American defensive lineman Michael Sam announced that he is "an openly, proud gay man," which could make him the NFL's first openly gay player if he's drafted in May.

    Sam told his teammates at Mizzou last August that he was gay. The team had no problems supporting him, made him a team MVP and watched as he sacked quarterbacks 11.5 times this past year as the Tigers finished the season an impressive 12-2 record as well as winning the Cotton Bowl. Sam was named first-team all-American was named the Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference.

    Michael is eligible for the NFL draft in May. Assuming that he is picked, Sam could be the first openly gay player in the history of the NFL. "I understand how big this is," Sam said. "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 decided to make the announcement through interviews ESPN and The New York Times because he said at the Senior Bowl two weeks ago, he was surprised how many people already knew about 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," Sam said. "I want to own my truth. ...No one else should tell my story but me."

    While the NFL and media debate whether or not Sam will be fully accepted into the sacred NFL locker room, sponsors and marketers are no doubt ready to cash in. In the end, all that matters is if Sam can produce on the field. Is this the start of a new trend in professional sports? Now the NFL just needs to get rid of racist team names.

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