Michelle Obama calls Michael Sam “an inspiration to all of us”

This January 2014 file photo shows Missouri senior defensive lineman Michael Sam speaking to media during an NCAA college football news conference in Irving, Texas.


First lady Michelle Obama on Monday commended prospective NFL player Michael Sam for announcing he is gay.

“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 first lady said via Twitter. The signature “mo” signifies Obama sent the message herself.

Sam, who plays at the University of Missouri and was last year’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year, responded, “Thank you for your kind words, humbled by your support.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday afternoon that President Obama shares his wife’s sentiment.

Carney said he hasn’t spoken to the president about whether Sam’s announcement should impact his prospects in the NFL draft, but he of Mr. Obama, “It is his view that it should not have an effect... Any athlete's ability should be measured in the traditional way -- how he or she performs in the sport.”

Mr. Obama and the first lady similarly offered their support to NBA player Jason Collins last year after he became the  first openly gay major league professional athlete. Mr. Obama called Collins, while Michelle Obama told Collins via Twitter, We've got your back!"

Gay rights activists, meanwhile, are still pressing the Obama administration to do more to support gay rights -- namely, signing an executive order to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity among federal contractors. The White House has said they support the Employee Nondiscrimination Act, which ban such discrimination, but the bill has yet to pass in the GOP-led House.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government will treat married same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples when they file for bankruptcy, testify in court, or visit family in prison.