NFL draft: Michael Sam shares kiss with boyfriend to become first ever openly gay NFL player
Michael Sam was dramatically drafted by the St Louis Rams in the last round of picks
Sunday 11 May 2014
Michael Sam has become the first openly gay NFL player – and shared his joy with the rest of the world by kissing with his boyfriend live on US television.
In what was a dramatic climax to this year’s NFL draft, American sports channel ESPN filmed a tearful Sam receiving the call from St Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher to tell him that he had been selected to be a part of the team.
Unable to contain his emotions, Sam turned to his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano, and the pair shared a kiss live on air.
Sam continued to celebrate the news with family and friends, and the two shared another embrace while feeding each other cake.
The majority of responses on social media to Sam's selection and his kiss were positive,with people realising the significance of the decision by the Rams to draft an openly gay man.
Ellen Degeneres tweeted “So proud of the @STLouisRams for showing there's nothing to be afraid of. Congratulations, @MikeSamFootball”
While Wade Davis, a former NFL cornerback who came out after his career had ended, tweeted. “Only one other time have (I) watched the clock with this much anticipation,”
“@STLouisRams are Americas new fave team!”
The news also led to celebrations throughout America’s gay community, with draft party’s organised in a number of gay bars across the country.
Nevertheless, despite the outpouring of support, there were also some unsavoury reactions to the kiss and Sam’s selection.
The Westboro Baptist Church, known for their extreme homophobic views, tweeted that Mike Sam’s kiss was a "sin" and were joined by a host of other users that decided to use twitter to voice their homophobic reactions to the kiss.
Speaking at a news conference held by the Rams after being drafted, Sam said: “I’ve been getting in shape and preparing for this moment for a very long time. I’m so determined to be great.”
When asked about potential detractors, Sam said: “It’s about football. Can I play football? Yes I can.”
The former college footballer who won was known for his uncompromising defensive play while at the University of Missouri, came out as gay in February, just before the NFL combines, the trials in which those looking to be drafted in the NFL have to attend.
Yet a poor showing at the trials left many doubting whether Sam would be selected in this year’s draft.
After seven rounds of no interest it seemed as if Sam’s chance of reaching the NFL was over, but the call from the Rams made Sam the 249th pick out of 256 and ensured Sam would be playing against football’s elite next season.
The new NFL season kick offs on 4 September.
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