Michael Sam is the newest recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage award, as announced on Good Morning America on Wednesday.
The former Mizzou standout came out in February as the first openly gay NFL draft prospect. If he is on an NFL roster this coming fall, he will be the first openly gay NFL player.
“I am so honored to be presented this award,” Sam told Good Morning America’s Robin Roberts. “I am so happy. It is a great honor.”
Sam also said when he came out, he had other closeted athletes talk to him about the decision to publicly come out.
“I’ve gotten so many emails, so many text messages from college and NFL players and other athletes in the sports industry about how courageous I was,” Sam said. “They themselves are closeted homosexuals. I am not the only one.”
Sam will receive the award at the ESPY awards on July 16. The honor is named after tennis star Arthur Ashe, who contracted AIDS and died shortly after in 1993. Past award winners include Robin Roberts, Pat Summitt and Jim Valvano.