History was made Saturday night as Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the National Football League. The All-American defensive end from the University of Missouri was picked up by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh and final round.
The 24-year-old athlete got the good news by telephone from Rams’ head coach Jeff Fisher, who told Sam, “You are a Ram. The wait is finally over.” He was the 249th of 256 players selected.
Upon receiving the news, Sam turned to his boyfriend Vito Cammisano to share an emotional kiss that was picked up by ESPN cameras. The future Ram later hopped on Twitter to express his excitement.
“Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis,” he posted, along with a picture of himself smiling. “I’m using every [ounce] of this to achieve greatness!!”
Fisher spoke on behalf of the franchise, stating, “We drafted a good football player. I’m excited to get him on the practice field and get him going. In a world of diversity that we live in, I’m honored to be a part of this.”
A congratulatory message also came in from the Commander-in-Chief.
“From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,” said President Barack Obama, who also congratulated the Rams and the NFL.
Photo credit: Joe Robbins/Getty Images North America