Essential Pittsburgh
6:08 pm
Mon February 10, 2014

How Michael Sam Became Bigger than the Olympics

Defensive end, Michael Sam, carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock 'M' at Memorial Stadium) after his final home game at the University of Missouri.
Defensive end, Michael Sam, carries his souvenir (a rock from the rock 'M' at Memorial Stadium) after his final home game at the University of Missouri.
Credit Marcus Qwertyus / Wikipedia Commons

This weekend was a very exciting weekend in the sports world, with the opening of the Olympics. But, something off the field and closer to home was the story that stole all the headlines.

Michael Sam, a graduating defensive end from the University of Missouri publicly announced Sunday that he is gay.

Sam was the Co-SEC Defensive Player of the Year this past season and played a key part to a surprisingly successful Missouri football team. With this announcement two weeks before the 2014 NFL Draft, Sam is on the fringe of making history by becoming the first openly gay NFL player.

Bob Dvorchak, sportswriter emeritus for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and creator of the website Sports ‘n ‘at, says, “it’s a pretty bold move, I mean we knew it was coming, but to be first brings a historic context. Whenever you're first, and you’re the pioneer, nobody knows what’s going to happen yet.”

Announcing it before the draft is “what makes this so different, that's what makes this so historic,” says Dvorchak.

According Dvorchak, the real story here is that this is “a test for the NFL and how far it’s come.”