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NFL prospect Michael Sam 'comes out' as gay

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Feb 09, 2014 | 9:18pm EST

Stars have reached out to American sports hopeful Michael Sam after he 'come out' as gay just months before he is expected to be drafted into the National Football League (NFL). The 24-year-old is a star defensive lineman for the University of Missouri, and one of the standout college players who experts predict has a very high chance of becoming a pro if drafted into the NFL in May (14). On Sunday (09Feb14), Sam publicly acknowledged his sexuality in interviews with ESPN and the New York Times, stating, "I am an openly, proud gay man." He tells ESPN, "I understand how big this is. 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." If drafted, Sam would become the very first openly gay player in the NFL. He tells the New York Times, "I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth." Since his announcement, celebrities have flooded Twitter.com to send their support to the athlete, including singer Ricky Martin who writes, "Congratulations brave man!!!" while actor Michael Urie adds, "Bravo, Michael Sam!" Basketball star Jason Collins, who made similar headlines last year (13) after becoming the first professional male athlete in America to come out, took to the microblogging site to reveal he had been meeting with Sam to share his own experience with being honest with his sexuality in the public eye. He writes, "For the past 2 days I have met with @MikeSamFootball here in LA. He is a great young man who has shown tremendous courage and leadership. I can't wait to cheer for whatever lucky team that drafts @mikesamfootball."

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