President Obama applauded the St. Louis Rams' selection of Michael Sam in the NFL draft over the weekend, reports USA Today. The University of Missouri's superstar defensive lineman made history as the first openly gay player in the National Football League.
"The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward in our Nation's journey," said a White House statement. "From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are."
Sam's selection in the NFL draft created a substantial digital footprint across social media, reports ABC News.
"Sam may also make history for being the most tweeted-about draft pick. Just 40 minutes after being drafted, there were already about 110,000 tweets referencing Michael Sam or @MikeSamFootball, including tweets from the Rams, the NFL, and supportive teammates."
Michael Sam made history last February when he became the first Division I college football player to come out as gay. He also becomes the second openly gay athlete to play in the rarefied "Big Four"—the National Football League, National Basketball Association, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League.
Meanwhile: There have been two other historic developments in sports recently made by Black gay athletes. Twelve year NBA veteran Jason Collins came out in April 2013 and was signed by the Brooklyn Nets in February. Twenty-two-year-old University of Massachusetts basketball phenom Derrick Gordon made history on April 9 when he publicly came out to become the first active and openly gay basketball player in NCAA Division I history.
Former Washington Redskins and Seattle Seahawks player Wade Davis, former Division I basketball player Will Sheridan and former American Basketball Association player DeMarco Majors discussed the landscape for professional Black gay athletes with me in the award-winning and critically-acclaimed 2012 anthology For Colored Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Not Enough. The book was edited by television commentator Keith Boykin.
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