May 11, 2014 11:41 am

Obama congratulates Michael Sam, first openly gay player drafted by NFL team

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

WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama has sent his congratulations to Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by a National Football League team.

Obama calls the selection of Sam “an important step forward.”

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Obama says that from the playing field to the corporate boardroom, gay and lesbian Americans, quote, “prove every day that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”

Sam was The Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference. He was picked late Saturday in the third and final day of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. Sam played college football at the University of Missouri and came out as openly gay in media interviews earlier this year.

© The Canadian Press, 2014

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