Obama praises Michael Sam for announcement before NFL Draft

Michael Sam gets a standing ovation at a Missouri basketball game. (USATSI)
Michael Sam gets a standing ovation at a Missouri basketball game. (USATSI)

Last week, when former Missouri linebacker Michael Sam announced that he was gay, First Lady Michelle Obama tweeted her support. Sunday before the NBA All-Star Game, President Barack Obama had more thoughts on Sam's decision to go public with his sexuality.

"I really like the fact that Michael did it before the draft," the president told Charles Barkley. "Because his attitude was, 'You know what? I know who I am. I know I can play great football and judge me on the merits.'"

Sam explained that he came forward now because he wanted to put the issue behind him as he prepares for the NFL.

"I wanted to own my truth," he told the Columbia Tribune. "I was just ready to get it over with. I don't know why I have to get on ESPN or the New York Times and tell people I happen to be gay. Straight people don't have to do it. I don't know why gay people have to do it."

Other than several anonymous NFL types suggesting that the league isn't ready for an openly gay player, and that Sam may have hurt his draft position with his announcement, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Two weeks ago, Sam was considered a middle-round pick and that remains the case today.

Of course, performances at the combine, his pro day and individual team workouts could move Sam up or down draft boards, but that truth holds for every other player, too, regardless of their sexual orientation. And that's how it should be.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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