Missouri students turn backs on church protest at basketball game to support Michael Sam

A group of Missouri students formed a human wall outside Mizzou Arena on Saturday in support of Michael Sam.

The students were attempting to block from view members of a church group who were in town protesting against the outpouring of support for former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who announced he was gay earlier this month.

Sam and the rest of the Missouri football team were honored during the basketball game against Tennessee. Sam received one of the loudest ovations from fans when the team was acknowledged.

Sam earned the SEC Defensive Player of the Year Award during the 2013 season and is projected to be a mid-round selection in the April NFL draft as either a defensive end or linebacker. He told his teammates and coaches he was gay prior to the start of last season and told the rest of the world earlier this month. When he signs with an NFL franchise at some point later this spring or summer, Sam will become the first active, openly gay NFL player.

Members of a Baptist church stood outside the arena holding signs that condemned the community's and school's support for Sam. Students who formed the wall tried to counter the protest by turning their backs and singing the Missouri alma mater. Alix Carruth and Kelaney Lakers were the students who organized the 'Stand With Sam' counter protest.

Missouri won the basketball game 75-70.

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Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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