Obama congratulates Michael Sam

Former Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam speaks to the media during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 22, 2014 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  Joe Robbins, Getty Images

President Obama offered his personal congratulations to Michael Sam, the openly gay football player who was drafted by the St. Louis Rams over the weekend.

Sam is the first openly gay player to be drafted by the National Football League. He went public about his sexuality earlier this year, although his team and coaches had known.

"The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward in our Nation's journey," a White House official said in a statement. "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."

Sam was taken by the Rams in seventh round of the NFL draft and was the 249th overall pick out of 256. He played at the University of Missouri and waslast year's SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

"Thank you to the St. Louis Rams and the whole city of St. Louis. I'm using every once of this to achieve greatness!!" Sam wrote on Twitter after being drafted.


In February, first lady Michelle Obama commended Sam via Twitter after he went public about his sexuality, writing: "You're an inspiration to all of us, @MikeSamFootball. We couldn't be prouder of your courage both on and off the field. -mo." The signature "mo" signifies Obama sent the message herself.

Sam responded at the time, "Thank you for your kind words, humbled by your support."

  • Rebecca Kaplan

    Rebecca Kaplan is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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