'This Week': Michael Sam's Breakthrough

ABC's David Wright on college football standout Michael Sam's historic coming out.
3:00 | 02/16/14

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Transcript for 'This Week': Michael Sam's Breakthrough
There is Michael Sam getting a standingiing ovation at a mizzou basketball game last night. The all-american from Missouri looking to become the NFL's first openly gay player. His announcement on "Outside the lines" months before he was going to be drafted. We have a panel of experts to discuss what it means for his career and the league. First the back story. I came to tell the world I'm an openly proud gay man. Reporter: With that announcement, Michael Sam made history. I understand how big this is, it's a big deal. I know what I want to be. And I want to be in the -- snapping in the NFL. Reporter: Sam's decision to put his sexuality front and center faces a test, the NFL draft. The Missouri defensive end is considered a top contender. Michael Sam is doing the right thing. And I hope the national football league does the right thing and gets this kid a chance to play. Reporter: David has some idea what Sam is going through. He played for the 49ers and the packers in the 60s and 70s, and then rights after he retired, made an announcement of his own. December 9th, 1975. Reporter: You remember the exact date? Absolutely. Reporter: He was the first retired NFL player to come out as gay 40 years ago. The lot has changed, and plenty of other professional athletes followed suit. Last year, basketball's Jason Collins and soccer's Robby rogerss declared they're gay. But football is another order of magnitude altogether. In the American psyche, football is where our gladiators play, okay? It's the roughest, macho sport. And Jon Stewart had this funny thing. Who is this gay football player? Oh, probably a kicker, huh? Am I right? You know, a kicker, a gay kicker. Reporter: At 6'2", 260 pounds, university of Missouri defensive lineman, Michael Sam, used skill and strength to lead the S.E.C. In sacks last year. He's a hell of a football player. That's what I'm trying to get people to focus on. Reporter: Pr guru, an ABC news consultant worked with Michael Sam ahead of the announcement. The reaction, including the cover of "Sports illustrates," overwhelmingly positive. One Dallas sports anchor's commentary went viral. You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs pulling her hair out by the roots, you're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You lie to police trying to cover up a murder, we're okay with that. Love another man, that's too far. Reporter: And the president of the golden state warriors is the highest-ranking executive in pro sports who is openly gay. He's put it back in the teams of the NFL to make a decision. And make it decision that becomes a very public one. Reporter: The NFL is grappling with what can be an abusive locker room culture. Bullying one another. Jurist th just this week, the NFL released a scathing report. Confirming a pattern of abuse and he know phobia in the Miami dolphins. Some of Michael Sam's potential teammates did not exactly welcome the idea of an openly gay player sharing the locker room. Some of them calling the whole thing a distraction. But Robby Rogers says it's been no big deal. In our locker room, the guys are very respectful. We make jokes. Reporter: What kind of jokes? Guys are like, I'm the first person they come to for fashion advice. I'm like, come on, are you serious? At some point in time, not a big deal. Today, a very big deal. Reporter: He'll be playing not just for his team -- what advice for Michael Sams? Bring it. Play football. Yeah, play football, be yourself. Reporter: A lot of people will be rooting for him. For this week, David Wright, ABC news, Los Angeles.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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