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25 Best Athlete Reactions to Michael Sam Coming Out

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The 25 Best Athlete Reactions To Michael Sam Coming Out

Michael Sam
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Michael Sam, 2014 NFL Draft Prospect and former Missouri defensive end, announced Sunday that he was openly gay, now paving the way for being possibly the NFL's first openly gay player.

Sam, in a meeting in August, told his fellow Missouri teammates and produced an excellent season for an improved Tigers defense. Sam finished with first-team All-American honors and was the SEC defensive player of the year with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.

The Twitter universe came to Sam's aid as numerous celebrities voiced their support for Sam's decision, including Michelle and Barack Obama, Ellen DeGeneres and Alyssa Milano. What was even more encouraging for Sam was the support from his fellow athletes, professionally and collegiately.

NFL higher ups like Green Bay Packers head coach Mike McCarthy and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft have expressed that they would welcome Sam with open arms onto their respective teams. Sam is looking to follow MLS player Robbie Rogers as the only current athletes to play openly in a major league sport. Former Washington Wizards and NBA center Jason Collins came out late last season and has not been signed by another team since his announcement.

The NFL scouting combine is a mere two weeks, prompting several analysts to question why Sam chose this time to reveal his story. Mock Drafts have Sam somewhere slated from the third round to fifth round for a very talented pass rusher, which teams will always have interest in.

This collection is the 25 best Twitter reactions from athletes. The list is comprised of former teammates, players from other Missouri sports, other collegiate players and finally professionals from the past and the present.

Brian Kalchik is a writer for Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and connect with him on Google.

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25. Stanford Routt, Former NFL Cornerback

Stanford Routt
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL cornerback Stanford Routt supported Sam and praised him of staying true to who he really is.

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24. Kirk Morrison, Former NFL Linebacker

Kirk Morrison
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

By saying less, former NFL linebacker Kirk Morrison's message meant so much more.

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23. Sage Rosenfels, Former NFL Quarterback

Sage Rosenfels
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Former NFL journeyman quarterback Sage Rosenfels supported Sam and hinted at a shift in American ideology.

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22. Richie Incognito, Guard, Miami Dolphins

Richie Incognito
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Say what you want about Richie Incognito's checkered past, but the embattled guard tweeted his support, clearly respecting what Sam did.

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21. Chase Daniel, Former Missouri Tiger

Chase Daniel
Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

Former Missouri Tiger and current backup Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel came to the support of one of his fellow Missouri alumni.

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20. Pat McAfee, Punter, Indianapolis Colts

Pat McAfee
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Current Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee gave a message not just to Sam, but to others who will look to follow Sam.

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19. Tom Crabtree, Tight End, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tom Crabtree
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Current Tampa Bay Buccaneers tight end Tom Crabtree gave his support for Sam and also hinted where the NFL is at in terms of accepting everyone into their league.

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18. Damon Harrison, Defensive Tackle, New York Jets

Damon Harrison
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Current New York Jets nose tackle Damon Harrison told everyone that America should accept everyone for who they are and respect everyone for what they bring to the table.

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17. Connor Barwin, Linebacker, Philadelphia Eagles

Connor Barwin
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Fellow defender Connor Barwin of the Philadelphia Eagles gave an overwhelming message of support for a fellow defensive player trying to make his mark in the NFL Draft.

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16. DeAngelo Williams, Running Back, Carolina Panthers

DeAngelo Williams
Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The current starting running back of the Carolina Panthers' DeAngelo Williams expressed what other NFL players have said about NFL locker rooms. As long as players produce, everyone will be accepted.

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15. Keyshawn Johnson, Former NFL Wide Receiver

Keyshawn Johnson
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Current ESPN analyst Keyshawn Johnson gave a great message to Sam by not just breaking what seemed to be an impenetrable barrier, but wishing for success to a prospective NFL draftee.

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14. Robbie Rogers, MLS, Los Angeles Galaxy

Robbie Rogers
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Galaxy forward Robbie Rogers was the first player to openly come out in any major sport and signed with the Galaxy after his announcement. Both Rogers and Sam have encouraged everyone to live the life they want to live.

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13. Sammy Watkins, Clemson Wide Receiver

Sammy Watkins
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Former Clemson wide receiver and consensus top-five pick in next May's draft Sammy Watkins noted that all of us are made in God's image and that everyone has their own mistakes and flaws.

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12. Jonathan Martin, Left Tackle, Miami Dolphins

Jonathan Martin
Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

Say what you want about Jonathan Martin, but Martin's words came from a player who had been treated unfairly in an NFL locker room for being different.

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11. L'Damian Washington, Former Teammate

L'Damian Washington
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Former Missouri teammate L'Damian Washington encouraged not just Sam, but everyone that being different is OK, but standing up for yourself and your beliefs is the most important thing.

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10. Laurence Bowers, Former Missouri Basketball Player

Laurence Bowers
Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

Former Missouri Tigers basketball player Laurence Bowers backed Sam and also recognized that there a select few who have the courage to share a personal secret to millions of people across the world.

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9. Kurt Warner, Retired Quarterback

Kurt Warner
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Future Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner praised Sam for his courage and hoped that the NFL can treat him like he should be, a football player.

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8. Deion Sanders, Hall of Fame Cornerback

Deion Sanders
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The greatest defensive back of all-time, Deion Sanders showed his encouragement of Sam's tough decision and voiced his support of Sam being a vital member of an NFL organization.

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7. Kony Ealy, Former Teammate

Kony Ealy
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Former Missouri teammate and fellow defensive lineman Kony Ealy, who is a projected first-round pick, gave his praise to Sam and gave his former defensive line mate his support for Sam's journey onto an NFL roster.

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6. Henry Josey, Former Teammate

Henry Josey
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Much like Morrison, few words can mean so much more. Coming from a teammate who endured his own adversity through numerous injuries, Missouri running back Henry Josey gave Sam his support for what Sam did this past Sunday.

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5. Abby Wambach, Team USA Women's Soccer

Abby Wambach
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Quite possibly the greatest female soccer player in American history, Abby Wambach, gave her words of encouragement to Sam's and his announcement.

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4. Malcolm Smith, Super Bowl MVP, Seattle Seahawks

Malcolm Smith
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith used his newfound stardom in the most effective way possible, by starting the discussion to dispel the notion that bigotry exists in sports.

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3. Steve Gleason, Retired Safety

Steve Gleason
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Former New Orleans Saints hero Steve Gleason has not only inspired many through his own struggles, but has also noticed another true hero in Sam.

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2. Jason Collins, NBA Free Agent Center

Jason Collins
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Former Washington Wizards center Jason Collins announced his coming out last April and supported a fellow athlete who did the same.

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1. Magic Johnson, NBA Hall of Fame Point Guard

Magic Johnson
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

One of the greatest athletes to ever play team sports, Magic Johnson, using the experiences that he has had with his own family, gave the utmost confidence to Sam and his incredible decision to let the whole world know about his story.