Michael Sam was a standout defensive end for the University of Missouri and is expected to be drafted in the second or third round of the upcoming NFL Draft in May. This past week he publicly announced what his college teammates and coaches already knew, he is gay. When he is drafted this May, he will become the first active athlete in any of the four major American sport leagues (NFL, NHL, MLB, NBA) to be openly gay.
When he came out to his college teammates, he knew that some had world and religious views that would conflict with his lifestyle, but in Sam's view, he could not pretend to be someone else in order to make others feel comfortable. Sam claims that there were no major conflicts throughout the season, and it was basically a non-issue with the possible exception that some of the slang-vernacular often associated with male athletes and that often includes derogatory words with regards to homosexuality changed. People were careful and more sensitive with regards to saying anything which would offend Sam.
Being openly gay in the NFL, he may face distinct challenges and homophobia and he is not naive enough to think that everyone will accept him, but that is something he cannot control. The fact of the matter is that if you have the talent and stay out of trouble, you are going to be on an NFL roster. And by that measure, Sam will in all likelihood be on a roster. Only time will tell how the other 52 players on that roster will react.