NFL prospect Michael Sam says he is gay

Michael Sam's brave declaration, made Sunday to the New York Times and ESPN, shows he is ready for the intense scrutiny that will come with being the first active NFL player to be openly gay. Whether the NFL is ready is another question altogether. And because of Sam's timing, it's a question the whole league has to answer. - Eric Adelson, Yahoo Sports

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after a play during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2014 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in this January 13, 2014 file photo. According to media reports, Sam announced publicly he was gay February 9, 2014, paving the way from him to perhaps be the NFL's first openly gay player. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after a play during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2014 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after a play during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the 2014 Cotton Bowl at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas in this January 13, 2014 file photo. According to media reports, Sam announced publicly he was gay February 9, 2014, paving the way from him to perhaps be the NFL's first openly gay player. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) is congratulated by defensive lineman Lucas Vincent (96) after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (not pictured) during the second half at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri in this file photo from October 19, 2013. According to media reports, Sam, who was the Southeastern Conference defense player of the year, announced publicly he was gay February 9, 2014, paving the way from him to perhaps be the NFL's first openly gay player. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (UNITED STATES)
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) is congratulated by defensive lineman Lucas Vincent (96) after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (not pictured) during the second half at Faurot Field in Columbia
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) is congratulated by defensive lineman Lucas Vincent (96) after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (not pictured) during the second half at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri in this file photo from October 19, 2013. According to media reports, Sam, who was the Southeastern Conference defense player of the year, announced publicly he was gay February 9, 2014, paving the way from him to perhaps be the NFL's first openly gay player. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (UNITED STATES)
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 07: Michael Sam #52 of the Missouri Tigers is seen before playing against the Auburn Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
SEC Championship - Missouri v Auburn
ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 07: Michael Sam #52 of the Missouri Tigers is seen before playing against the Auburn Tigers during the SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 7, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after the game at Memorial Stadium after Missouri defeated Indiana 45-28 in Bloomington, Indiana in this file photo from September 21, 2013. According to media reports, Sam, who was the Southeastern Conference defense player of the year, announced publicly he was gay February 9, 2014, paving the way from him to perhaps be the NFL's first openly gay player. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (UNITED STATES)
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam reacts after the game at Memorial Stadium as Missouri defeated Indiana 45-28 in Bloomington
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after the game at Memorial Stadium after Missouri defeated Indiana 45-28 in Bloomington, Indiana in this file photo from September 21, 2013. According to media reports, Sam, who was the Southeastern Conference defense player of the year, announced publicly he was gay February 9, 2014, paving the way from him to perhaps be the NFL's first openly gay player. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (UNITED STATES)
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) celebrates after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (not pictured) during the first half at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri in this file photo from October 19, 2013. According to media reports, Sam, who was the Southeastern Conference defense player of the year, announced publicly he was gay February 9, 2014, paving the way from him to perhaps be the NFL's first openly gay player. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (UNITED STATES)
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) celebrates after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (not pictured) during the first half at Faurot Field in Columbia
Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) celebrates after sacking Florida Gators quarterback Tyler Murphy (not pictured) during the first half at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri in this file photo from October 19, 2013. According to media reports, Sam, who was the Southeastern Conference defense player of the year, announced publicly he was gay February 9, 2014, paving the way from him to perhaps be the NFL's first openly gay player. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports (UNITED STATES)
FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2014 file photo, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, right, and players, including offensive linesman Robert Luce (56) and defensive lineman Michael Sam (52), prepare to take the field for the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, in Arlington, Texas. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp, File)
In this Jan. 3, 2014 file photo, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, right, and players, including offensive linesman Robert Luce (56) and defensive lineman Michael Sam (52), prepare to take the field for the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, in Arlington, Texas. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport
FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2014 file photo, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel, right, and players, including offensive linesman Robert Luce (56) and defensive lineman Michael Sam (52), prepare to take the field for the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, in Arlington, Texas. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp, File)
FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2013 file photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) pushes past a block by Mississippi offensive linesman Pierce Burton (71) in the second half of a NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
In this Nov. 23, 2013 file photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) pushes past a block by Mississippi offensive linesman Pierce Burton (71) in the second half of a NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport
FILE - In this Nov. 23, 2013 file photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) pushes past a block by Mississippi offensive linesman Pierce Burton (71) in the second half of a NCAA college football game in Oxford, Miss. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)
Michael Sam
Michael Sam
Michael Sam
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2014, file photo, Missouri senior defensive lineman Michael Sam speaks to the media during an NCAA college football news conference in Irving, Texas. Sam says he is gay, and he could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)
Marketing execs: Let Sam's play speak for him
FILE - In this Jan. 1, 2014, file photo, Missouri senior defensive lineman Michael Sam speaks to the media during an NCAA college football news conference in Irving, Texas. Sam says he is gay, and he could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)
In this Jan. 3, 2014 photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) and Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf (10) greet each other on the field after the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game, in Arlington, Texas. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
In this Jan. 3, 2014 photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) and Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf (10) greet each other on the field after the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game, in Arlington, Texas. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
In this Jan. 3, 2014 photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) and Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf (10) greet each other on the field after the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game, in Arlington, Texas. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2013, file photo, Missouri's Michael Sam (52) sings the school song after Missouri defeated Indiana in an NCAA college football game in Bloomington, Ind. The All-American athlete says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2013, file photo, Missouri's Michael Sam (52) sings the school song after Missouri defeated Indiana in an NCAA college football game in Bloomington, Ind. The All-American athlete says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 21, 2013, file photo, Missouri's Michael Sam (52) sings the school song after Missouri defeated Indiana in an NCAA college football game in Bloomington, Ind. The All-American athlete says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2012, file photo, Missouri linebacker Michael Sam (52) is congratulated by teammate Matt Hoch after returning a fumble seven yards for a touchdown against Southeastern Louisiana during the first quarter, in Columbia, Mo. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2012, file photo, Missouri linebacker Michael Sam (52) is congratulated by teammate Matt Hoch after returning a fumble seven yards for a touchdown against Southeastern Louisiana during the first quarter, in Columbia, Mo. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 1, 2012, file photo, Missouri linebacker Michael Sam (52) is congratulated by teammate Matt Hoch after returning a fumble seven yards for a touchdown against Southeastern Louisiana during the first quarter, in Columbia, Mo. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Chris Lee, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, File)
In this Jan. 3, 2014 photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) warms up, as he wears an "MU Pride" bracelet made by Triangle Coalition, a student organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, before the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, in Arlington, Texas. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
In this Jan. 3, 2014 photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) warms up, as he wears an "MU Pride" bracelet made by Triangle Coalition, a student organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, before the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, in Arlington, Texas. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
In this Jan. 3, 2014 photo, Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) warms up, as he wears an "MU Pride" bracelet made by Triangle Coalition, a student organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, before the Cotton Bowl NCAA college football game against Oklahoma State, in Arlington, Texas. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Tim Sharp)
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, Missouri's Michael Sam (52) runs onto the field along with their teammates before the start of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Columbia, Mo. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, Missouri's Michael Sam (52) runs onto the field along with their teammates before the start of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Columbia, Mo. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2012 file photo, Missouri's Michael Sam (52) runs onto the field along with their teammates before the start of an NCAA college football game against Georgia in Columbia, Mo. Michael Sam hopes his ability is all that matters, not his sexual orientation. Missouri's All-America defensive end came out to the entire country Sunday night, Feb. 9, 2014, and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

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