If Michael Sam becomes the first openly gay player in the NFL, he will be welcomed by teammates and could even lead to his team developing a greater unity.
That is according to the NFL Players Union president Domonique Foxworth, who was adamant in an interview with ESPN that the All-American defensive lineman would be welcomed "with open arms" by any of the league's locker rooms.
Sam graduated in December and was named Defensive MVP in the Southeastern Conference after leading the division with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss as he helped Missouri to the championship game.
He is expected to be drafted in May, which will make him the first gay player active in the league to be open about his sexuality.
"I came to tell the world I'm an openly gay man," said Sam in the interview with ESPN where he revealed his sexuality.
"If I work hard, if I make plays - that's all that should matter."
That was most certainly the view of Foxworth when he spoke with ESPN's 'Mike & Mike' show and the acting NFLPA president, who is set to step down next month, even suggested Sam's presence would help to engender a greater unity in the locker room.
"I know that the union will accept him with open arms, as will our players," said the former Denver Broncos cornerback.
"The team's gonna build up around their teammate, and it's going to galvanize the team. Everyone's talking about how this could disrupt the locker room. Some NFL locker rooms need disrupting, to be frank.
"Coaches go through a lot of different things to try to build a bond between the team, and what's going to build a bond more than having a player that all the guys know is kind of a target for opposing fans and maybe a target for opposing players?
"That type of stuff is what makes you build up around a guy, and Missouri seemed to have a pretty good season. So I expect whatever team he goes to is not going to be adversely affected. If anything, they could be positively affected by adding a man like that."
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