On Sunday, All-American defensive lineman and prime NFL draft candidate Michael Sam publicly came out as gay in a televised interview with ESPN, and in a written piece with the New York Times, marking a significant milestone in sports.
Michael could be the first openly gay player in the NFL, and his announcement is receiving tremendous support from colleagues, fans and even the President of the United States.
Ellen tweeted her support today, posting, "Happy to hear the news about Michael Sam, who might become the first openly gay NFL player. #Respect. @MikeSamFootball"
At the University of Missouri where Michael played, his name was written in the snow over the field.
The NFL issued its own statement on the matter, stating, "We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. Michael is a football player... any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."
Many more tweeted and shared their support following Michael's statements:
President Obama: "Congratulations on leading the way, @MikeSamFootball. That's real sportsmanship."
Michelle Obama: "You're an inspiration to all of us, @MikeSamFootball. We couldn't be prouder of your courage both on and off the field. -mo"
Seattle Seahawks MVP Malcolm Smith: "There is no room for bigotry in American sports. It takes courage to change the culture."
NFL Hall of Famer Deion Sanders: "I applaud Missouri DE @MichaelSamfootball for his bravery & honesty about who he is. I pray he gets a opportunity 2 play the game he loves! Michael Sam isn't the 1st gay player in the NFL although he is the 1st 2 come out.#realtalk Let's show him love like a family member. Truth"
Miami Dolphins guard Richie Incognito: "@MikeSamFootball #respect bro. It takes guts to do what you did. I wish u nothing but the best."
ESPN radio host Colin Cowherd, "Yes Michael Sam does need to tell us this. Progress works that way. Landmark moments usually begin with individual courage."
Indianapolis Colts snapper Matt Overton: "Wishing nothing but the best of luck to this Michael Sam fella. Took a lot of guts to do what he just did before the big job interview."
New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft commented in the Boston Herald, "We're about winning, and anyone who can come in here and help us win, I personally don't care what their ethnic background is, their racial background, the gender preference. If they can help us win, and they're about team first, then I'm happy to have him here."
Michael's alma mater: "We support Tigers of all stripes at Mizzou. Proud of you @MikeSamFootball! #OneMizzou http://ow.ly/trK67 "
Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams: "I could care less about a man's sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!"
In our eyes, Michael has already won.
More of the Good News:
NFL Star Helps Struggling Gay Teen Overcome His Fear
Deaf NFL Player Derrick Coleman's Commercial Inspires Family with Deaf Child
The NFL's Big Surprise for a Deserving Middle School Football Player