Michael Sam brought the crowd in Missouri to its feet on Saturday.
The All-America defensive end and NFL prospect, who came out publicly as gay last weekend, received overwhelming support while making his first public appearance since his announcement.
On hand with his football teammates and coaches for a halftime ceremony honoring their Cotton Bowl victory over Oklahoma State, Sam received a standing ovation when he was shown on the video board during the men’s basketball game against Tennessee.
Later he blew a kiss to the student section and shook hands.
“Michael Sam stood up for Mizzou his entire career and we need to stand up for him,” said 51-year-old Michelle Carmichael, who joined more than a thousand others in a line formed to support Sam.
The 2013 SEC defensive player of the year is expected to become the first openly gay player in the NFL after the draft in May.