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St Louis Rams make Michael Sam NFL’s first openly gay player

DRAFTED: Sam in action during a practice drill earlier this year (PA)

AMERICAN FOOTBALL player Michael Sam has become the first openly gay man in the history of the National Football League (NFL) after St Louis Rams selected him on the final day of the draft.

The 24-year-old, who plays as a defensive lineman, revealed he is gay in February, and received widespread support for the announcement, including words of praise from US president Barack Obama.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher said he decided to pick the University of Missouri based on his performance on the field, and claimed he is proud to have made the signing.

Fisher told ESPN: “In the world of diversity we live in now, I'm honoured to be part of this and I'm excited about his opportunity to help this football team win.”

When announcing he is gay, Sam told ESPN: “I came to tell the world I'm an openly gay man.

“If I work hard, if I make plays - that's all that should matter.

“I probably may be the first but I won't be the last. And I think only good things will come from this”.

He added that coming out publicly was “a weight off “his chest.

Meanwhile, Miami Dophins have fined safety player Don Jones for making comments on Twitter about Sam.

The 23-year-old later apologised for the remarks, and told the Dolphins website: “I want to apologise to Michael Sam for the inappropriate comments I made on social media.

“I take full responsibility for them and I regret that these tweets took away from his draft moment.”

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