As Michael Sam prepares for the NFL draft and a lot of professional uncertainty, he will be leaving behind the University of Missouri and a campus filled with people who saw beyond his sexual preferences.For that, he is thankful. He wrote a letter to the editor of The Missourian and asked for it to be published during Pro Day.
To my fellow University of Missouri students, athletes, faculty, alumni and supporters:
From my first recruiting trip to the University of Missouri, I felt something extraordinary and special — something I didn’t feel anyplace else.
I didn’t have a name for it then; I do now. It’s called family.
And to me that family is defined by unconditional love.
Certainly you cheered my successes, but you also picked me up when I fell.
Maybe most importantly, you gave me a chance to live my truth without judgment, without hesitation and with great discretion and respect.
When I came out last month, I did it with the confidence that my Mizzou “family” would always be there for me.
To put it mildly, the love and acceptance I felt was amazing.
The day after the announcement, my name was spelled out in the stadium; fraternities hung #StandWithSam banners; then when I went to the basketball game to honour the football team’s Cotton Bowl victory, I worked hard not to cry because of the amazing reception.
I have a long journey ahead of me, a lot of hard work and many dreams I want to fulfil.
But I do it with the confidence that my Mizzou family will be there for me every step of the way.
I will continue to work my hardest; I will strive to make you all proud.
And I will be a Tiger forever.
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