Michael Sam’s NFL Jersey is a Best-Seller

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Tuesday May 13, 2014
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Michael Sam’s new St. Louis Rams’ jersey
Michael Sam’s new St. Louis Rams’ jersey  (Source:NFLShop.com)

Michael Sam’s St. Louis Rams NFL jersey is skyrocketing on the National Football League’s online shop, and is currently a best-seller, Missouri’s NBC-affiliate station KYTV reports.

The uniform of the first openly gay football player to be drafted into the NFL is the No. 2 seller of the draft. The No. 1 seller goes to Johnny Manziel, the quarterback picked in the first round by the Cleveland Browns.

According to KYTV, NFLShop.com did not release the number of jerseys sold, but said it is the biggest draft weekend for sales in the site’s history.

Sam was picked by the St. Louis Rams Saturday night and made history for being the first out athlete to be drafted to the NFL.

Sam’s No. 96 jersey has outsold two other high-profile quarterbacks -- who usually are more popular than defensive players like Sam - Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles.

Two days after Jason Collins, the first openly gay player in an American major sport, signed to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this year, his No. 98 jersey was a big seller on NBAStore.com. A spokesperson said the jersey also sold well the day Collins wore it on the court. Collins picked No. 98 to honor Matthew Shepard, who was killed in 1998 in an anti-gay hate crime.

News of Sam’s draft sent shockwaves through the sports world and the nation. Some disapproved of the openly gay athlete, like Miami Dolphins’ Don Jones, who was fined by the team after tweeting "horrible" when news broke Sam was drafted to the Rams. Ex-football player Derrick Ward also took to Twitter to lash out on Sam, taking issue with ESPN’s coverage of the athlete kissing his boyfriend. Additionally, former Mississippi basketball player Marshall Henderson said he was going to boycott ESPN’s SportsCenter for the coverage and Donald Trump called the kiss "out there."

Nevertheless, Sam was also lauded by many for his accomplishment and even received a congratulatory phone call from President Barack Obama.

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