White House praises gay Mo. player's announcement - NBC Sports

White House praises gay Mo. player's announcement
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FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, Missouri's Michael Sam (52) runs onto the field along with their teammates before the start of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Columbia, Mo. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
February 10, 2014, 3:27 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) The White House is applauding a University of Missouri football player's decision to announce that he is gay, with President Barack Obama's spokesman, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden all portraying him as a courageous and inspirational athlete.

Biden and the first lady took to Twitter on Monday to comment on Michael Sam, the all-American college player who declared publicly on Sunday that he is gay. Mrs. Obama says she "couldn't be prouder" of Sam's courage, both on and off the field.

The tweet was signed "-mo," which is how the White House marks messages personally sent by the first lady.

"Your courage is an inspiration to all of us," Biden said. The message was signed "-VP," which designates that the vice president sent it personally.

Sam could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. He's scheduled to participate in the league's weeklong scouting camp, where potential draftees are evaluated, later this month in Indianapolis. He is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick in May.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president "shares the sentiments expressed by the first lady and the vice president and so many others in marveling at his courage and congratulating him on the decisions he's made, on the support he's had from his team and wishing him well in the future, including in professional football."

Carney said Sam's announcement should not affect his standing on the NFL draft and that his abilities should be measured by his performance.

"And in this case, his performance has been exceptional," Carney said.

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