Mr. Sam played down any repercussions, saying he had the full support of teammates, coaches and administrators. One teammate, he said, accompanied him to a gay pride event in St. Louis last summer, and others went with him to gay bars.

“Some people actually just couldn’t believe I was actually gay,” Mr. Sam said. “But I never had a problem with my teammates. Some of my coaches were worried, but there was never an issue.”

One lingering issue, Mr. Washington said, was trying to get players to change their casual language in the locker room. Loosely lobbed homophobic remarks suddenly had a specific sting.

Mr. Sam played down that, too. For him, coming out to his football team was a positive step, on a path that seems as if it will lead to the N.F.L.

In The New York Times, John Branch reports about college football star Michael Sam, who came out as gay to his teammates at Mizzou. Sam is on track to become the first publicly gay player in the NFL. See also: “Chris Kluwe Takes a Stand.”


Photo: Komunews

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