Michael Sam was a very good college football player at Missouri. He'll be drafted in May, and should make a good defensive lineman for a NFL team for years to come.
Sam came out publicly as being gay on Sunday, to the New York Times and ESPN. We'll finally get to see that a player's sexual orientation has nothing to do with his ability to excel on the football field. Sam, assuming he gets drafted as expected, will be the NFL's first openly gay player.
Sam came out to his team-mates before last season, the Times said. Rumours about him being gay had already started well in advance of the draft. He decided to come out now, on his own terms.
“I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it. I just want to own my truth.”
He's a fine player, expected to be taken in the middle rounds of the draft. But will the announcement hurt his draft stock? Sports Illustrated polled eight NFL personnel executives and coaches, and said that all eight "believed that Sam's announcement will cause him to drop in the draft."
"I just know with this going on this is going to drop him down," a veteran NFL scout told SI.com. "There's no question about it. It's human nature. Do you want to be the team to quote-unquote 'break that barrier?'"
There has been a worry for years that a gay player wouldn't be accepted in a dressing room. We'll get a chance to see now that Sam has announced he is gay.
“I’m not naïve,” Sam said, according to The Times. “I know this is a huge deal and I know how important this is. But my role as of right now is to train for the combine and play in the NFL."
NFL public relations head Greg Aiello put out a supportive statement from the league:
So while Sam's prospects may have been harmed by coming out as gay, it is at least positive that such news is more common than ever before, as Arsenal and England ladies football captain Casey Stoney admitted.
The Arsenal ladies defender became the latest sportsperson to speak openly about their sexuality after former Aston Villa midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger came out as gay and Olympic diver Tom Daley revealed he was in a relationship with a man.
Stoney, who has 116 caps for England, was delighted by the positive response Daley got to his announcement, and is hoping that revelations about sexuality will eventually not be seen as important.
"I feel it's really important for me to speak out as a gay player because there are so many young people struggling with being gay," she told BBC Sport.
"You hear about people taking their own lives because they're homosexual, now that should never happen. They should never feel those pressures.
"How can I expect other people to come out and speak about themselves if I'm not willing to do that myself?
"Now is the time because I'm in a loving relationship where I feel strong, I feel safe and I don't care what other people think any more."
"I've never hidden it within football circles because it is accepted. But to the outside world where I've been employed or I've gone to meals and I've gone and met people, I've never spoken about my sexuality."
She added: "If I can help other people in some way shape or form feel more comfortable or feel at ease with themselves then this is what this is all about, this is the bigger picture.
"It's not about me. I'm comfortable now, it's about making sure we live in a world where it's accepted, we live in a world where it's not news any more.
"I looked at the response that Tom Daley got and the incredible positive response that he got and I thought 'wow, the world is changing' and it's time for me to stand up and tell my side of the story."
It is significant that the likes of Sam and Stoney - as current and thriving athletes - feel able to come out and be open about their sexual orientation, but it's also slightly ironic given the struggles of gay athletes in Sochi with Russia's anti-gay legislation.
Russia will also host the World Cup in 2018 and Stoney admits she will not be going to the tournament if current attitudes towards sexuality there persist.
"I won't be going to Russia or Qatar to watch a World Cup because I wouldn't be accepted there," she said.
"I think it's incredible that these countries get World Cups and Olympics when they don't accept everybody to go there and be part of it.
"There will be (Olympic) athletes competing out (in Russia) who are gay. I can't imagine how frightened they must feel going out there and competing.
"When Russian President Vladimir Putin says that gay people can come over but please don't go near the children, what sort of message is that sending if he is that uneducated and he's ruling that country? It seriously worries me."
Courage is the word most used in these cases and Sam and Stoney can hold their heads high after taking the bravest of steps in their sporting careers.