Michael Sam makes history as first openly gay NFL player

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Michael Sam has made history, becoming the first openly gay player on an NFL team, as he joins the St Louis Rams in the final stage of the draft.

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.

The Rams tweeted on Saturday to confirm that Sam had been drafted with the 249th pick, in the seventh round of the NFL draft.

Twitter lit up with speculation over possible outcomes, some saying they hoped his athletic ability would be taken into consideration, others saying it would reflect badly on the NFL if he was not signed.

Many pointed out that he still may have made it as a free agent, if he had not been drafted by a team.

Sam’s new teammates were quick to welcome him to the Rams as the announcement of his draft was made.

The 6’2″ 255-pound Sam was the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year last year.

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. 

Despite expectations that he would be drafted, some experts said his sexuality might have put off prospective teams as a “distraction”. 

Nonetheless, Sam said he was “nervous and excited” about the draft. 

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.