Missouri football was given the SEC Sportsmanship Award on Thursday for its response to Michael Sam's announcement.
Sam, the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, publicly said he was gay in February. He told his teammates during a practice before the season began and immediately received support from his teammates and coaching staff. After his announcement, Missouri officials and players spoke glowingly of the environment after Sam told the team and the school handled the story with much aplomb.
After Sam revealed his sexual orientation to the New York Times, Missouri released a statement in which coach Gary Pinkel said the team was proud of Sam "on every level."
When he went public, Sam became the first openly gay active FBS college football player. He was selected in the seventh round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. In his senior season at Missouri, he had 11.5 sacks.
After Sam was drafted, Pinkel said he hoped that there would not be any discussion about a football player's sexual orientation in a few years.
Tennessee men's basketball, Georgia equestrian and the SEC women's golf coaches also received the award.
"Sportsmanship, civility and social responsibility are marks of character that last a lifetime," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. "We are proud of these teams from Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia and the women's golf coaches of the SEC for setting an example for us all."
For more Missouri news, visit PowerMizzou.com.
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