President Barack Obama congratulated Michael Sam on Saturday for making history as the first openly gay football player drafted into the National Football League, the White House said.
“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,” Obama said. He also extended his congratulations to the NFL and the St. Louis Rams, the team that picked Sam.
The football player publicly came out in February, saying to ESPN in an interview, “I came to tell the world I’m an openly proud gay man.”
Upon opening up about his sexual preference, the media questioned whether teams would be hesitant about drafting Sam because of the attention his personal life would potentially draw.
“I understand how big this is,” Sam said. “No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”
He further spoke about his sexual orientation in an interview with The New York Times saying, “I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth.”