The University of Missouri community has rallied behind senior Michael Sam, which includes support from the men’s basketball team as well.
On Sunday, Sam, the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year, announced that he was gay, and could potentially be the NFL’s first openly gay player with the 2014 NFL Draft scheduled in three months.
Steve Walentik of the Columbia Daily Tribune, asked several members of the basketball team their thoughts on the news, with plenty of positive reactions.
“Happy for him coming out,” Jordan Clarkson told Walentik. “Love is love — it shouldn’t change the person, what he is. He’s a football player. That’s what he does on the field, and it shouldn’t matter what he does off the field.”
Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel and athletic director Mike Alden issued a statement of support shortly after the news broke while some fans spelled Sam’s name in the snow at Faurot Field.
“I think the Mizzou community has really done a good job of supporting him,” Sophomore forward Ryan Rosburg added. “Everywhere I go, I just hear good things about him, how everyone is so proud that he came from Mizzou and he’s really being true to himself.”
Leading scorer Jabari Brown wasn’t surprised by the reception from the rest of Mizzou, rather intrigued he announced this before May’s draft where Sam is projected to go as high as the third round.