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Vikings commend Michael Sam’s coming out

Vikings commend Michael Sam’s coming out


Minnesota Vikings owner welcomes openly gay player as long as he “can help us win.”

Minnesota Vikings owner Zygi Wilf commended Missouri defensive end Michael Sam’s for his decision to come out as gay late last week. If Sam is drafted by an NFL team he will be the first openly gay player in the NFL — and if he’s good enough, he might just be the next Minnesota Viking.

In a statement provided to ESPN, Wilf said:

We commend Michael Sam for being very courageous with his openness on something of such a personal nature. His comments will have no impact on how the Vikings view Michael as a football player or as a person. If a player can help us win, we will warmly welcome him as part of the team and provide an accepting, respectful and supportive environment to help him succeed in the NFL.

The Vikings organization is currently undergoing an investigation after former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe alleged anti-LGBT sentiment within the organization. Kluwe’s allegations did note, however, Wilf’s support for LGBT rights.

At one point, Wilf said to Kluwe (according to Kluwe), “Chris, I’m proud of what you’ve done. Please feel free to keep speaking out. I just came from my son’s best friend’s wedding to his partner in New York, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.”

The NFL draft is in May. If Sam is picked, he’ll be the first openly gay player in the NFL.

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Andy Birkey has written for a number of Minnesota and national publications. He founded Eleventh Avenue South which ran from 2002-2011, wrote for the Minnesota Independent from 2006-2011, the American Independent from 2010-2013. His writing has appeared in The Advocate, The Star Tribune, The Huffington Post, Salon, Cagle News Service, Twin Cities Daily Planet, TheUptake, Vita.mn and much more. His writing on LGBT issues, the religious right and social justice has won awards including Best Beat Reporting by the Online News Association, Best Series by the Minnesota chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and an honorable mention by the Sex-Positive Journalism awards.