With the announcement that Michael Sam, the University of Missouri’s star defensive end, has made history by publicly coming out as the first high profile openly gay NFL prospect, Athlete Ally launched an online campaign to mobilize support for Sam. The campaign, launched yesterday by Brendon Ayanbadejo as a reaction to backlash against Sam, is now joined by the National Black Justice Coalition, a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
“Michael’s announcement is huge. While there’s been a strong show of support for him by the NFL, his Missouri teammates and coaches, and fans, there is also speculation that the NFL isn’t ready for a gay player. I don’t believe that’s the case. What Michael needs now is to hear the support of fans across the country and the world.” said Super Bowl champion and human rights activist Brendon Ayanbadejo, who is a member of the Athlete Ally Board of Directors.
“Michael Sam has made a historic and courageous decision to live his authentic truth for the world to see,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of NBJC. “Sam continues the tradition of breaking down barriers for not only LGBT athletes who dream of playing professional sports, but all LGBT people, young and old, who seek to live openly, honestly and safely in their neighborhoods and communities. NBJC is proud to join with Athlete Ally to support Michael Sam and begin the conversation around LGBT athletes in sports and how we can collectively work towards making sports safe for all.”