Messersmith Finds Familiarity with Sam's Support

Published 02/10 2014 06:41PM

Updated 02/11 2014 12:22AM

(ATCHISON, Kan.) Missouri defensive end Michael Sam broke new ground on Sunday, becoming the first openly gay NFL draft prospect.

In the 24 hours since, support for Sam and his decision has come from all sides, including teammates, coaches, and Missouri students.

It's a familiar feeling for Benedictine junior Jallen Messersmith, who announced was gay last May. He was the first active men's college basketball player to do so.

"It's like I've been there, I've done that. I know what he's going through," he said.

Like Sam, Messersmith was able to make the announcement on his terms through an article on SB Nation's He knows first-hand what the next few months could have in store for the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year.

"There will be a few steps where someone will say something. Something will happen as things progress. Hopefully it'll be a good experience and I wish the best for him."

Messersmith has developed into one of the best post players in the Heart of America Athletic Conference. That's all hist teammates see him as with his sexual orientation playing no role. Messersmith hopes the NFL will show that same respect to Sam after his Missouri teammates did throughout the 2013 season.

"His teammates support him and did what they asked him to. If they go by what they should be drafting him by, I don't think it'll honestly change a whole lot for him."

He added that he hopes this is one step closer to gay athletes in pro sports being an afterthought.

"Hopefully this isn't news within the next few years. It'll just be something that happens."

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.