About the Show

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

We've moved! Come join us at our new show page.

February 10th, 2014
06:00 PM ET

NFL network's Eisen on college star being gay: If it worked at college level, it can work at pros

(CNN) - College football star Michael Sam hasn't even been drafted by a team, and yet he's already poised to make history in the NFL. Sam, an all-American defensive lineman from the University of Missouri, revealed to the world a truth he's known for years.

"I came to tell the world I'm an openly, proud gay man," Sam told ESPN's "Outside the Lines."

Sam explained why he decided to go public with his sexuality, in interviews with ESPN and The New York Times, saying he wanted to control how his story was told, instead of having it leaked by someone in the media.

The SEC defensive player of the year is expected to get drafted by an NFL team, making him the first openly gay player in the league.

Sam says he understands his revelation may not sit well with everyone, but he was encouraged by the reaction he got when he revealed the news to his teammates at Mizzou last year.

Following his interview, Sam got a lot of support from high profile people both in and outside of the sports world.

First Lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden sent tweets, calling him an inspiration.

And some current players downplayed whether Sam's sexuality should be an issue.

A few unnamed league executives are saying that they don't think the league is ready for an openly gay player, and according to the CBS draft spots, he dropped 70 draft spots overnight.

"I don't know what the fallout would actually be, to be honest with you," says Rich Eisen, host of NFL Network.

"I know that there are some unnamed scouts, or personnel department individuals who think it may not work. All you have to do is look at a bunch of 18 to 23-year-olds at the University of Missouri who knew (Sam is gay)," says Rich Eisen, host of NFL Network.

The Missouri Tigers Missouri Tigers had a 12-2 season, were the fifth ranked team in the nation, and, says Eisen, "created an environment that Michael Sam could be the co-SEC defensive player of the year."

"If it can work, it can work well at the collegiate level, I have no doubt it can work and work well at the professional level, at the National Football League," said Eisen.

For more of our interview with Rich Eisen, check out the video above.

soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.