New York: Michael Sam made history on Saturday as the St Louis Rams made him the first openly gay player to be drafted into the National Football League.
Sam had an agonisingly long wait for the milestone moment, which came as the seventh and final round of the three-day draft was winding down. "I knew I was going to get picked somewhere," said Sam, who went public with his sexuality in February.
Cameras of broadcaster ESPN captured Sam's emotional reaction to the telephone call he received from Rams head coach Jeff Fisher. Sam broke down in tears speaking with Fisher before exchanging a hug and kiss with his boyfriend.
President Barack Obama congratulated Sam in a statement: "The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward today in our Nation's journey," the White House statement read, adding that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans "prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are."