COLUMBIA — Michael Sam was on hand for Saturday's football game against South Dakota State.
He stood in the south end zone during the first quarter. His name was called. He waved to the crowd. And moments later, the news broke: the St. Louis Rams had cut Sam.
Tramall Ferguson, 23, of St. Louis, didn't know Sam had been cut.
"Wow, that's crazy," Ferguson said. "It's not like he was a bust."
Brenden Kagan, an MU sophomore majoring in business management, reacted similarly.
"He got cut?" Kagan said. "I can't believe it. I thought he was such a great player."
Kagan was proud of Sam's legacy: "The first gay player came from Mizzou — that's awesome."
"There's no such thing as bad publicity," Kagan said. While he thought Sam had the chops to play in the NFL, Kagan also said that he felt the Rams missed out on a golden opportunity for good press.
Frank Bowman, a senior sports management major from Columbia, felt much the same way.
"I guess he just didn't do enough to make the team," Bowman said. "He got cut."
Twitter erupted with reactions after the Rams broke the news, too.
Jason Collins, the first openly gay NBA player, offered encouragement:
Josh Gondelman, producer of HBO's "Last Week Tonight," attempted to find humor in the moment:
Sports Illustrated writer and Missouri alumnus Joan Niesen found the Rams' timing to announce Sam's release unsettling:
Openly gay Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup had so much to say that he could not contain it to a single tweet: