For those wanting to buy official gear of Michael Sam, hoping to become the NFL's first openly gay player, his website has unveiled a merchandise store.
On sale are T-shirts ($22) or buttons (a pack of 10 for $25) with the "Stand With Sam" logo. The slogan was popularized when University of Missouri students formed a cordon to keep members of the anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church from disrupting a campus appearance by Sam. The former University of Missouri linebacker is projected to be drafted in the May NFL Draft.
My first reaction upon seeing this was to question the need to sell merchandise (some with rainbow colors) before being drafted, but Sam's agents Joe Barkett and Cameron Weiss told Outsports it was due to demand for "Stand With Sam" products. The pin sold on the store is a replica of the one he wore at the NFL Combine and has been a popular request by fans.
In addition, unauthorized sites were selling Sam gear and the agents wanted to protect his interests. Sam tweeted this when the store opened this weekend:
A portion of the proceeds of all Michael Sam gear will be going to at-risk youth in the St. Louis area— Michael Sam (@MikeSamFootball) March 8, 2014