WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama sends his congratulations to Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Obama calls the selection of Sam “an important step forward.”

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Obama says that from the playing field to the corporate boardroom, gay and lesbian Americans, quote, “prove every day that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”

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Sam was the Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference. He was picked late Saturday in the third and final day of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Rams. Sam played college football at the University of Missouri and came out as openly gay in media interviews earlier this year.

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