NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The NFL has never seen anything like it.
A late-round draft pick is rocketing up the jersey sales scoreboard. But this isn’t just any player — this is Michael Sam, who became the league’s first openly gay player when he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round (249th overall) on Saturday.
Sam’s jersey ranks second among all incoming rookies, behind only ultra-popular quarterback Johnny Manziel, who was taken by the Cleveland Browns in the first round.
“This is unprecedented for a Day 3 pick, let alone a seventh round pick, to crack the top five rookies sold following draft weekend,” NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter told Outsports.com.
The first overall selection, Houston’s Jadeveon Clowney, is No. 3 on the list despite his jersey being available two days before Sam’s, Outsports reported. Minnesota quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and Jacksonville’s Blake Bortles were fourth and fifth, respectively.
Sam, who played defensive end at Missouri and was named the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, announced he was gay three months ahead of the draft.
Jason Collins made history in February when he signed with the Brooklyn Nets, becoming the first openly gay active player in the four major American professional leagues. His No. 98 jersey rocketed to No. 1 in sales on the NBA’s official website on its first day available for purchase.
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