President Obama tweeted his support for Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who announced to the media on Sunday he is gay.
Sam, who had informed his teammates he was gay before the start of the 2013 season, was the SEC defensive player of the year and a first-team All-America last year.
He received an outpouring of support from those inside and outside of football since the announcement, including from the President and First Lady.
Congratulations on leading the way, @MikeSamFootball. That's real sportsmanship.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) February 10, 2014
You're an inspiration to all of us, @MikeSamFootball. We couldn't be prouder of your courage both on and off the field. -mo
— FLOTUS (@FLOTUS) February 10, 2014
The NFL also released a statement that welcomed Sam to professional football.
"We admire Michael Sam's honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014."
Sam took to Twitter to thank everyone for their warm wishes, singling out Deion Sanders and Jerome Bettis for their encouragement.
Many thanks to the NFL players & legends who vocally supported me @JeromeBettis36 & @DeionSanders were kinda special for me, not gonna lie! — Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) February 10, 2014