Michael Sam becomes first openly gay NFL player

Michael Sam speaks to the media on Jan. 1, 2014, in Irving, Texas.
Michael Sam speaks to the media on Jan. 1, 2014, in Irving, Texas.

The NFL made history on Saturday. 

The St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam, setting the stage for the defensive end to become the first openly gay player in the history of the league. 

Sam was the 249th pick on the last day of the league's draft, according to NBC Sports, and there was some question as to whether he'd be tapped to play professionally at all. 

An ESPN video showed an emotional Sam taking the call from the Rams Saturday. Sam celebrated the news by kissing his boyfriend. 

Obama applauded the news. “The president congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our nation’s journey. From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are,” the White House said in a statement.

Sam graduated from Mizzou, in Columbia, Mo., last December. He came out as gay in an interview with The New York Times in February, saying, “I’m comfortable with who I am, and I didn’t want anyone to break a story. I want to tell it the way I want to tell it.”

Sam was hailed at the time by both his teammates and the NFL.

Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and first lady Michelle Obama even joined the fray, showing their support on Twitter.