ALLEN PARK, Mich. — The Detroit Lions joined the NFL, the NFL Players Association, and several other NFL teams in showing their support for Michael Sam, an NFL Draft prospect who announced publicly that he is gay.
“As an organization and football team, the Detroit Lions place the highest priority on inclusiveness and diversity,” Lions president Tom Lewand said in a statement. “We applaud Michael Sam for his courage and proactive approach, and we will evaluate him, like every player, based solely on his ability to help the Lions win football games.”
Sam was the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year after racking up 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss with the Missouri Tigers this season. The Tigers went 12-2, winning the SEC East division and the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
He publicly announced his sexual orientation in a media blitz Sunday through the New York Times, ESPN, and Outsports. Sam is expected to become the first active player in NFL history to be openly gay.
Sam played defensive end in college, but there is some debate as to what position he might play in the NFL. Several football scouts consider Sam, listed 6-foot-1 5/8 and 260 pounds, a better fit as an outside linebacker instead.