With defensive end Michael Sam making history as the first openly gay athlete drafted in the NFL, he received a warm congratulations from U.S. President Barack Obama.

“The President congratulates Michael Sam, the Rams and the NFL for taking an important step forward in our Nation’s journey,” a representative from the White House told ABC News. “From the playing field to the corporate boardroom, LGBT Americans prove everyday that you should be judged by what you do and not who you are.”

Sam was taken with the 249th overall pick on Saturday by the St. Louis Rams. It should keep his fan base as intact as he built a strong following as a playmaker with the Missouri Tigers in college.

Sam earned SEC co-defensive player of the year honors in 2013 after tallying 11.5 sacks as a senior. He was looked upon as a team leader and was a team captain on the Tigers' defense.

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