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White House praises Michael Sam, Missouri

Monday, February 10, 2014 | 4:24 p.m. CST

WASHINGTON — The White House is applauding Missouri football player Michael Sam'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 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 gay player in the NFL. He's scheduled to participate in the league's week-long scouting camp, where potential draftees are evaluated, later this month in Indianapolis. He is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick come 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.


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