Michael Sam Signs With Visa, Still Awaiting NFL Draft Selection (Video)
As the second round of the NFL draft begins on Friday evening, Michael Sam still hopes to become the first openly gay player drafted into the National Football League.
While, as expected, the former Missouri defensive end was not picked up in Thursday's wave of 32 picks, Sam did sign his first endorsement deal with Visa.
In the spot, the SEC Defensive Player of the Year -- who announced that he is gay last February -- was shown working out on a weight bench, while the voiceover urges viewers to judge him for his play on the field, not off of it.
"Judge me for a blown tackle on the outside rush. … Remember me for sending you home with tears of joy or tears of sorrow. I am Michael Sam, and that's my everywhere," says the 261-pound defender as he powers out bench presses.
"We felt that Michael's story was a perfect fit for our 'everywhere' campaign, which is meant to inspire people to reach their own personal goals and aspirations," Visa's chief marketing officer Kevin Burke told ESPN.com. "We wish Michael the best on and off the field as he embarks on the next chapter of his life."
A mainstay at the Olympics, Visa has been sponsoring the games for 27 years, so the credit card company is no stranger to sports-oriented campaigns, including the new NFL Draft Stories series.
While striving to making sports history, Sam is not expected to be selected until the later rounds of the draft on Saturday, which ESPN Monday Night Football analyst Jon Gruden told MSNBC was "because of his performance at the combine" and "nothing to do with his storyline."
Sam is set to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this summer's ESPYs, which he called an "honor," adding that he hopes he inspires others to be comfortable with who they are.
"I just feel like because I came out, I was the first one to do it, I could be a beacon for other athletes who may be gay or may not be," he told Good Morning America on Wednesday. "I think I can be a beacon for those people, a light, like 'I can be comfortable in my own skin and be like Michael Sam.'"
Watch his Visa commercial below: