The White House is applauding a University of Missouri football player's decision to come out as gay, with President Barack Obama's spokesman, first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden all portraying him as a courageous and inspirational athlete.
Biden and the first lady took to Twitter on Feb. 10 to comment on Michael Sam, the all-American college player who declared publicly on Feb. 9 that he is gay. The first lady says she "couldn't be prouder" of Sam's courage, both on and off the field.
The tweet was signed "-mo," which is how the White House marks messages personally sent by the first lady.
"Your courage is an inspiration to all of us," Biden said. The message was signed "-VP," which designates that the vice president personally sent it.
Sam could become the first openly gay player in the NFL. He's scheduled to participate in the league's weeklong scouting camp, where potential draftees are evaluated, later this month in Indianapolis. He is currently projected to be a mid-round draft pick in May.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the president "shares the sentiments expressed by the first lady and the vice president and so many others in marveling at his courage and congratulating him on the decisions he's made, on the support he's had from his team and wishing him well in the future, including in professional football."
Carney said Sam's announcement should not affect his standing on the NFL draft and that his abilities should be measured by his performance.
"And in this case, his performance has been exceptional," Carney said.