White House, many others praise Michael Sam's announcement - KCTV5

White House, many others praise Michael Sam's announcement

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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. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File) 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. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade, File)
"Sam" is spelled in the snow on the north side of Missouri's Memorial Stadium, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 in support of Missouri's All-America defensive end Michael Sam, in Columbia, MO. (Alan Shope/KCTV5) "Sam" is spelled in the snow on the north side of Missouri's Memorial Stadium, Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 in support of Missouri's All-America defensive end Michael Sam, in Columbia, MO. (Alan Shope/KCTV5)
WASHINGTON (AP) -

The White House is applauding a University of Missouri football player's decision to announce that he is gay, with President Barack Obama's spokesman, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden all portraying him as a courageous and inspirational athlete.

Biden and the first lady took to Twitter on Monday to comment on Michael Sam, the all-American college player who declared publicly on Sunday that he is gay. Mrs. Obama says she "couldn't be prouder" of Sam's courage, both on and off the field.

The tweet was signed "-mo," which is how the White House marks messages personally sent by the first lady.

"Your courage is an inspiration to all of us," Biden said. The message was signed "-VP," which designates that the vice president sent it personally.

Sam could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL. He's scheduled to participate in the league's weeklong scouting camp, where potential draftees are evaluated, later this month in Indianapolis. He is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick in May.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president "shares the sentiments expressed by the first lady and the vice president and so many others in marveling at his courage and congratulating him on the decisions he's made, on the support he's had from his team and wishing him well in the future, including in professional football."

Carney said Sam's announcement should not affect his standing on the NFL draft and that his abilities should be measured by his performance.

"And in this case, his performance has been exceptional," Carney said.

Some students on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus didn't really seemed surprise by the news.  Most say they support Sam, gay or not.

Football coach Gary Pinkel made himself available Monday afternoon to answer any questions.

Pinkel said Sam actually told his teammates back in August that he was gay.  Some have known even longer.  He said he supports his former player.

His closer friends on the team have known for more than five years, and his teammates rallied around him.

Sam, was voted as the SEC player of the year and an All-American.  He is expected to be a mid-round selection in this years NFL draft.

Sam is currently back in Los Angeles getting ready for the NFL Scouting Combine later this month.

Copyright 2014 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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