By Megan Townsend, GLAAD’s Entertainment Media Strategist
Out football player Michael Sam has signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL), it was announced today. He has signed a two-year deal and will wear number 94 for the team. Sam’s first appearance will be in the CFL season opener on June 25 as the Alouettes take on the Ottawa Redblacks, the game will be broadcast nationally in Canada. The Alouettes finished second in their divison last year, the team last won the Grey Cup in 2010.
“Michael Sam made history as the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL and today we congratulate and commend his new team The Montreal Alouettes and the CFL for writing the next chapter in this exciting story,” said GLAAD CEO and President Sarah Kate Ellis.
“I am very excited and proud to join the Montreal Alouettes and want to thank team Owner Robert Wetenhall, General Manager Jim Popp and Head Coach Tom Higgins for this opportunity,” Sam said in a statement. “I cannot wait to put on the pads, get back on the field and work hard each and every day with my teammates to bring a Grey Cup to the great fans here in Montreal.”
“With the signing of Michael Sam, we have become a better organization today,” said Alouettes’ general manager, Jim Popp. “Not only have we added an outstanding football player, we have added even a better person that brings dignity, character, and heart to our team.”
“Congratulations to the Montreal Alouettes on the signing of Michael Sam,” CFL commissioner Jeffrey Orridge said in a statement released by the league. “Our players come to us from different places, different walks of life and ultimately they take different paths to get to our fields. Today is another indication of how open and progressive the CFL is — consistent with our rich and storied history of great football tradition. Welcome to Montreal, Michael!”
Sam made history when he came out last February and in May becamethe first openly gay player drafted to the National Football League (NFL) when the St. Louis Rams signed him. Sam was cut from the Rams at the end of training camp and the Dallas Cowboys then signed him to their practice squad. He was ultimatelywaived. Sam was the subject of an OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network documentary,Michael Sam, and he competed in the most recent season of ABC’sDancing with the Stars. He recently appeared at the 26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards where he and fellow out athlete Jason Collins joinedSports Illustrated managing editor Chris Stone to accept the award in Outstanding Magazine Overall Coverage.