Mizzou Earns SEC Sportsmanship Award for Support of Sam

4 years 1 day 15 minutes ago Thursday, June 19 2014 Jun 19, 2014 Thursday, June 19, 2014 12:24:00 PM CDT June 19, 2014 in Mizzou Xtra
By: Ashley Colley, KOMU 8 Sports Producer

COLUMBIA - The Missouri football team was named one of four SEC Sportsmanship Award recipients on Thursday for the support it showed to Michael Sam. During the 2013 season, senior defensive end Michael Sam came out to his teammates as being gay.

After sharing his sexual orientation with his team, Sam decided he did not want to release the information publicly until after the 2013 season was over, and his teammates honored his wishes.

On February 9, 2014, Sam revealed he was gay on national television and became the first openly gay NFL prospect. His teammates continued to show their support for him.

On May 10, 2014, Sam became the first openly gay player drafted when he was selected by the St. Louis Rams.

The Tigers share the annual award, which is voted on by the Southeastern Conference Directors of Athletics, with the University of Tennessee basketball team on the men's side.

The University of Georgia equestrian team tied for the award on the women's side with all of the SEC women's golf head coaches.

"Sportsmanship, civility and social responsibility are marks of character that last a lifetime. We are proud of these teams from Missouri, Tennessee and Georgia and the women's golf coaches of the SEC for setting an example for us all," SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement released Thursday.

Mizzou head women's golf coach Stephanie Priesmeyer, is one of the honorees who supported Auburn women's golf head coach Kim Evans after she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in the spring of 2013.

Priesmeyer released a statement on Thursday saying, "Kim [Evans] is such an inspiration to all women and a tremendous role model for her players and her University. We spoke at length at the SEC Championship about her journey last year and how she got through the cancer and the loss of her assistant coach to a tragic accident. Kim has helped all of us, as coaches, to remember the need for perspective in our lives. This 'thing' we do could be over in a second! Live life to the fullest, love your players and enjoy the moments we share with them each day. I am proud to be a part of this close-knit SEC golf coaching family."

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