Michael Sam could become the NFL’s first openly gay player today

PinkNews logo surrounded by illustrated images including a rainbow, unicorn, PN sign and pride flag.

If drafted to an NFL team today in rounds 4-7, Michael Sam would become the first openly gay player in the league.

Michael Sam, a University of Missouri football player came out in an ESPN interview on 9 February.

Sam has since said he hopes that he would soon be able to move on from the attention gathered, and be known for his athletic ability, not his sexuality.

Whether or not Sam is drafted today is being noted as the most newsworthy event of the draft.

Many have speculated about whether or not he will be taken up by a team, some saying his sexuality and the media attention it could draw would put off teams as a “distraction”.

If Sam goes undrafted today, he could still become a free agent, and still play in the NFL season this autumn.

Chris Kluwe, former Minnesota Vikings punter, told the Associated Press that if Sam is not drafted, it would be reasonable to ask whether his sexuality was a factor.

“Projectable guys who have to change positions are generally drafted in rounds three through five,” Kluwe said. “A bad combine shouldn’t send him out of the draft. If that’s the precedent and that precedent is not met, then why not?”

It was announced earlier this week that the Arthur Ashe Courage Award will be given to Sam at the 2014 Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards (ESPYs) in Los Angeles in July. 

He is expected to be drafted on Saturday by experts, but some have said his sexuality may put off prospective teams as a “distraction”. 

Nonetheless, Sam has said he is “nervous and excited” about the draft. He could still become a “free agent” in the autumn if he is not drafted by a team.

A US Republican Lobbyist has taken aim at any NFL team willing to draft openly gay player Michael Sam, threatening that the team will “get roughed up financially”.

Despite negative attention, he proved that being openly gay has not affected his chances of an endorsement, landing a deal with Visa.