KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Former University of Missouri football Defensive End Michael Sam was in Kansas City Sunday morning. The NFL’s first openly gay player was the keynote speaker at an event promoting equality for all at The Roasterie.
Sam was a standout football player in college. Now, the free agent is standing up for the LGBT community.
"He's a football player, but he's also somebody who has been incredibly courageous and brave when he didn't have to be and he is an amazing role model to so many young people," said Angela Cottrell with the Human Rights Campaign Kansas City.
Sunday morning Sam spoke at the HRC Kansas City Equality Brunch. The event helps raise awareness about the inequality Cottrell said many in the LGBT community face.
"Here even in Kansas and Missouri you can still be fired for being gay. You know you can get married in Kansas now, you can't get married in Missouri if you are gay," said Cottrell.
"I want to see everyone be equal through the eyes of the law to be able to be represented equally to be able to have the rights and services that are afforded to anyone and not be a second class citizen,” she went on to say.
Heather Mcqueen was just married in July.
"My wife and I have two nine- year-old twins," she said.
She said by being himself and honest, Sam is helping bring so many of the issues her family faces to the forefront.
"I think what he's doing right now is really the most important and that's just really being who he is. Going out there and talking with people and being Michael Sam, being a wonderful human being, and being who he is," said McQueen.
Sam was named an All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year during his last year at Mizzou. He made history when he became the first openly gay football player to be picked up by an NFL team in the 2014 draft.