Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross said issued a statement Wednesday saying his team would welcome Michael Sam, the Missouri All-American defensive end who could become the NFL’s first openly gay player this season.
“Michael Sam’s announcement is a significant step in sports and I respect the choice that he made publicly,” the statement said.
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“His announcement will have no bearing either way on our evaluation of him as a player. (General manager) Dennis Hickey, (coach) Joe Philbin and I all agree on the same thing; we'll draft the best players that can help us win football games, have high character and contribute to the community. If he is a member of our organization, Michael will be welcomed here with open arms as part of our family.”
Sam announced over the weekend that he’s gay, sparking a national discussion on whether he’d be accepted into a NFL lockerroom.
Ross’ statement leaves no doubt that the Dolphins wouldn’t have a problem having an openly gay player on the team.
A few Dolphins players, among them cornerback Brent Grimes, guard Richie Incognito, tackle Jonathan Martin, and safety Jordan Kovacs, supported Sam via Twitter over the weekend. Wide receiver Brian Hartline re-tweeted a message by Grimes that basically said a person’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter to him.
The Dolphins are still awaiting the NFL report on the Incognito-Martin bullying/harassment situation. That report is due to be released late this week or early next week.