After NFL draft, Michael Sam's kiss sparks heated reaction
Josh Elliott, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, May 11, 2014 2:05PM EDT
From Twitter to news channels to the White House, there was no ignoring a landmark LGBT moment on Saturday after openly gay football player Michael Sam was been drafted into the NFL.
The St. Louis Rams used their 249th selection to choose Sam -- a star defensive lineman at the University of Missouri -- in the seventh round of the draft.
Sam’s reaction, captured on video by ESPN at a draft party, quickly went viral.
Sam gets the news on his cellphone and immediately breaks into tears. His boyfriend then comforts him and the two exchange an emotional kiss.
That second part didn’t make it into every clip, but the fact that a sports network aired it at all was enough to ignite Twitter.
Some loved it.
Everytime they show the video of Michael Sam finding out he got drafted on the highlights I want to cry I'm so excited #SamFans— Molly Burke (@mollysburke) May 11, 2014
Some hated it.
Tim Tebow gets criticized for bible versus on his cheek but it's okay for Michael Sam to kiss another dude on ESPN. Let that sink in. #wrong— Will Mara III (@WJM3_est1993) May 11, 2014
Others tried to steer the conversation back to football, and encouraged fans to evaluate Sam based on his athletic abilities, not his orientation.
Jeff Fisher: Michael Sam was rated MUCH HIGHER on our draft board AS HE WAS ON MOST TEAMS' DRAFT BOARDS but he fell. So why did he fall?— mike freeman (@mikefreemanNFL) May 11, 2014
good job by rams picking michael sam in nfl draft. but why does best defensive player in best league wait to round 7?— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) May 11, 2014
Even the President of the United States decided to chime in, with the White House releasing a statement on behalf of Barack Obama.
“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward in our Nation’s journey,” said the statement, released Saturday. “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.”
Of course, getting drafted into the NFL is no guarantee Sam will ever play. He’ll still have to earn a roster spot with the team at training camp.
But the Rams say they’re ready to welcome Sam with open arms.
"We're in an age of diversity. Players understand that, they know that," Coach Jeff Fisher said Saturday. "People will try to make it a distraction but it's not a distraction."