ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Mizzou defensive end Michael Sam drew plenty of attention from football fans as the SEC’s co-defensive player of the year. But he hit the national radar in February when he announced he is gay.
Saturday’s decision by the St. Louis Rams to select the 6’2” tall player in the seventh round of the NFL draft made Sam the first openly gay football player to be drafted.
Some pundits have predicted his personal lifestyle choice will become a distraction. But Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he had no concerns about that. “We drafted a good football player,” he said.
Football fans waiting in line to buy dinner at Sweetie Pies in The Grove welcomed the news that Sam was chosen to play in St. Louis. “I think he’ll make a good player for the Rams. They need somebody like that,” said one man.
“I’m sure someone’s going to bring up something somewhere. It is up to him to get over that and hopefully his teammates will be supportive,” said another.
A long time fan minced no words. “His next step is just to play football. It’s time to shut up and play.” A waiter said “It’s not about his being gay, it is about him being a man and working for the team.”
Those who had regularly watched Sam play at Mizzou pointed to his enthusiasm on the field. “It seems like he has a really good attitude. I know that his teammates like T.J. Moe are really excited that he is going to be on the team so it sounds like it’s going to be a really good atmosphere,” said a woman who graduated from M.U.
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