US President Barack Obama has come out in support of Michael Sam, who is on course to become the first ever gay athlete in the NFL.
Sam's announcement before the draft in May, which he will enter having completed his time at the University of Misouri, has sent shockwaves through the sport.
However Obama has put his weight behind Sam to blaze a trail for others to follow, and believes he made the right choice to come out before the draft.
"I really like the fact that Michael did it before the draft, because his attitude was, 'You know what? I know who I am. I know I can play great football and judge me on the merits,'" he said in an interview with TNT's Charles Barkley before the NBA All-Star game.
First Lady Michelle Obama also backed Sam, tweeting that the 24-year-old was an 'inspiration for us all'.
Much has been made since Sam's announcement over whether he would be accepted into an NFL franchise's locker room.
The game's commissioner Roger Goodell, who already has his work cut out in keeping unruly locker rooms in line in the aftermath of the Richie Incognito incident, has already made a start on the issue.
"I think you'll see workplace training conducted for the football side,'' NFL vice president of player engagement Troy Vincent said.
"The kind of respect-at-work training that happens on the second floor, in the business offices, needs to happen on the first floor, with the players.''
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