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Reports: NFL-Bound Missouri All-American Says He’s Gay

Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.

In interviews with ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports that were published Sunday, Sam said his teammates and coaches at Missouri have known since August.

“I am an openly, proud gay man,” he said.

The 255-pound Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., last month after leading the SEC in sacks (11.5) and tackles for loss (19), and he is projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick.

“It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be. … I want to be a football player in the NFL,” he said in the interviews.

There have been numerous NFL players who have come out after their playing days, including Kwame Harris and Dave Kopay.

Last year, NBA player Jason Collins announced he was gay after the season. Collins was a free agent and has not signed with a new team this season. MLS star and U.S. national team player Robbie Rogers also came out a year ago.

Division III Willamette kicker Conner Mertens, a redshirt freshman, said last month he was bisexual.

Tennis

Italy Tops U.S. in Fed Cup

Cleveland — Karin Knapp won her second match of the weekend and gave Italy a 3-1 win over the United States in their Fed Cup first-round match on Sunday.

Knapp defeated American Alison Riske 6-3, 7-5 to give Italy the victory in the best-of-five series.

She held a 5-2 lead in the second set, only to let Riske tie it at five. But Knapp regained the momentum and closed out the match.

Knapp also defeated Christina McHale on Saturday, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Camila Giorgi defeated Madison Keys 6-2, 6-1 in Saturday’s second match.

The United States moves to the World Group Playoff in April and will need to win in order to stay in the World Group. The U.S. Fed Cup team is 0-11 after trailing 0-2 after the first day of play since the World Group format began in 1995.

Soccer

More Misery for Man U

London — So often the beneficiary of late goals under Alex Ferguson, it seems everything is being turned on its head at Manchester United under David Moyes after his team’s latest stumble in the Premier League.

Deep into stoppage time at Old Trafford, Darren Bent scored a goal for Fulham for a 2-2 draw for the league’s worst team on Sunday.

And a difficult first season for Moyes continues, with the champions adrift in seventh, after winning the title by 11 points under Ferguson in May.

Also tough for Moyes is that his team had turned the match around to be in a winning position. Trailing from Steve Sidwell’s 19th minute-goal, Robin van Persie and Michael Carrick scored rapid goals to put United up 2-1 going into the final 10 minutes.

United’s draw was compounded by Tottenham moving three points from fourth place on Sunday by sending Everton from fifth with a 1-0 victory over the Merseyside team.

Lisbon Stadium Loses Roof Pieces

Lisbon, Portugal — Heavy winds have blown off pieces of the roof at Lisbon’s Estadio da Luz, the stadium that will host the Champions League final in May.

The damage led to Sunday’s Portuguese league game between Benfica and Sporting Lisbon being postponed to Tuesday.

The worst storm to hit Lisbon in years blew parts of the roof’s plastic covering onto the pitch, forcing the evacuation of around 50,000 fans.

After the supporters had left, several pieces of meters-long sheet metal were blown by the wind into the empty bleachers.

The Estadio da Luz will host the Champions League final on May 24.