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Michael Sam wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Michael Sam was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year as well. (USATSI)
Michael Sam was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year as well. (USATSI)

Assuming he's drafted between Thursday and Sunday, Michael Sam will become the first openly-gay player on an NFL roster. Coming out was a brave thing to do and he's being honored for it.

ESPN announced the news on Wednesday morning and Sam, via the Associated Press, said he was "honored" to receive it.

"I'm very honored to be presented with the Arthur Ashe award," he said. "It is about courage.

"You know I don't think there is anything courageous I did. I look forward to when we can live life in a world when gays don't have to come out in public."

He also added, via Twitter, that his mission is just beginning.

Sam, the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, will receive the award on July 16, 2014 at the 2014 ESPYs in Los Angeles.

He'll join previous winners like the late Jim Valvano (the first winner of the award), Pat Summit, Robin Roberts and many more.

“Arthur always believed in and practiced leading by example,” Ashe's widow Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe said. “When Michael Sam announced that he is gay, he courageously stepped forward to engage an issue that still remains a pervasive problem in many professional sports.

"Michael has displayed true leadership both on and off the field.”

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