Huge props to students and fans at the University of Missouri for their support of Michael Sam, the school's star defensive end who came out publicly as gay last week. He was given a standing ovation at halftime of the team's basketball game Saturday when he walked on the court with teammates and coaches to hoist the Cotton Bowl trophy:

Earlier, about 2,000 fans formed a chain as a peaceful protest to keep the gay bashers from Westboro Baptist Church away from campus:

The "Stand With Sam" rally was peaceful and members did not engage Westboro protesters.

Wearing a shirt declaring "We Are All CoMo Sexuals," 51-year-old Michelle Carmichael joined more than a thousand others in forming a line of support for Sam. She didn't hesitate to answer why."Because Michael Sam stood up for Mizzou his entire career and we need to stand up for him," she said. The shirt Carmichael wore plays off the nickname of Columbia, Mo., where Sam announced to his teammates in August that he was gay.

After the game, Sam posted this photo he saw on Instagram:


He also tweeted out this from the "Stand With Sam" rally: