02/10/2014 10:38 am ET Updated Feb 10, 2014

Michelle Obama Congratulates Michael Sam For Coming Out As Gay

First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday congratulated University of Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam for coming out as gay.

In a Twitter message, she wrote:

Sam, the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, came out in interviews released Sunday with The New York Times and ESPN. He is eligible to be drafted into the National Football League in May, where he could become the first out gay professional player in the league.

The NFL welcomed Sam in a statement Sunday:

We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the N.F.L. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.

UPDATE: Sam thanked the first lady in a tweet Monday.