LGBT Sports Coalition Supports NFL Bound Michael Sam 

CHICAGO, Ill. (February 9, 2014) – In the wake of former University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam's decision to come out as a gay man, the LGBT Sports Coalition offers its enthusiastic support for him as he heads into the NFL draft. The native of Hitchcock, Texas was already heading into the NFL draft with high expectations, but the Coalition's member institutions are ready to go beyond enthusiastic fandom. 

Wade Davis, Executive Director of You Can Play and a former NFL player, said in reaction, "We look forward to supporting Michael in his career both on and off the field. In addition, we will continue our close work with the NFL and it's clubs to ensure their locker rooms are ready to embrace Michael as a person and a player." 

Patrick Davis, CEO of Ben Cohen's StandUp Foundation, observed, "We congratulate Michael Sam on his courage, honesty and integrity for being true to himself; he is now a role model to other athletes." 

Sam's decision reflects the change happening in sports across the country. Nevin Caple, Executive Director of Bra}che the Silence campaign, noted, "It's the young athletes whose desire to live their truth is changing sports culture, making the locker room safer for everyone. They are the ones changing hearts and leading this movement." 

After leading the SEC in sacks, Sam was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press in December 2013. He was also one of ten first-team All-Americans selected unanimously. 

After his accomplishments on the field, Sam is expected to be selected anywhere between the first and fifth rounds when the NFL conducts its next amateur draft on May 8-10, 2014. While there's sure to be concern about what Sam's announcement means for his future, the NFL added sexual orientation to its list of protected classes in September 2011. 

About the LGBT Sports Coalition 

The coalition is an association of organizations and individuals committed to ending anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016. It was formalized at the LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, Ore., in June 2013. Coalition member organizations include Women Sports Foundation, National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association, AAHPERD, Federation of Gay Games, Campus Pride, Br{ache The Silence, Athlete Ally, NCAA Office of Inclusion, GO! Athletes, GLAAD, National Center for Lesbian Rights, It Gets Better, Equality Coaching Alliance, You Can Play, Outsports, GLSEN, & Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation. Individual members include Anthony Nicodemo, Chris Mosier, Stephanie Wheeler, Laurie Priest, Jeff Sheng, Sherri Murrell, Kirk Walker, Christina Kahrl, Sue Rankin, Kye Allums, Erin Buzuvis & Pat Griffin.