The 7th round of the NFL's player draft Saturday likely had more excitement to it than any other 7th round before.
That's because Missouri DE Michael Sam had his name called by the St. Louis Rams as the 249th player drafted overall. (Via Twitter / @MikeSamFootball)
Sam, the first openly-gay NFL draftee, celebrated the emotional moment with a giant kiss with his boyfriend. (Via ESPN)
ESPN went back to the video feed later, showing Sam playfully shoving cake in his boyfriend's face and nabbing another kiss. Unlike the first clip, there wasn't much of a trace on the ESPN website of the second clip. (Via Vine / Adam McGinnis)
It was a never-before-seen moment on national sports television and unsurprisingly, it was pretty polarizing.
A writer for Yahoo praised the exchange: "It would have been enough of an earthquake to see Sam become the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, but by kissing his boyfriend on national television ... Sam took a whack at an even bigger barrier to acceptance."
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But, Deadspin compiled a flurry of tweets from angry Twitter users.
Among those was former NFL running back Derrick Ward who appeared to take exception to how intense Sam's kissing was. Ward wrote,
"Man U got little kids lookin at the draft. I can't believe ESPN even allowed that to happen." and later posting, "I wasn't against him kissing his significant other. All I said was he shouldn't Had done it the way that he did it. Even if he kissed a girl I woulda said the same thing." (Via Twitter / @derrickward32)
But, a writer for Larry Brown Sports says this sort of negative reaction by some was kind of expected. "That was very bold of Sam to act so affectionately on national TV, bold of ESPN to record it and just as bold of them to show it to their audience knowing it would offend some."
From here, Sam will need to sign a contract with the Rams and make it through a series of roster cuts to play in an NFL game.
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