WESTCHESTER, N.Y. -- The jersey of Michael Sam, the National Football League's first openly gay player, is the No. 2 seller from the NFL draft, according to NFLShop.com.
The top-selling jersey belongs to Johnny Manziel, the quarterback taken in the first round by the Cleveland Browns. The league's online shop did not release the number of jerseys sold, only the rankings. But it did say this was the biggest draft weekend for sales in the site's history.
Manziel had an advantage in terms of uniform sales since he was taken on Thursday night, May 8, while Sam was chosen in the seventh and final round. Jerseys from quarterbacks are typically more popular than those of defensive players like Sam.
Anthony Nicodemo, the boys basketball coach at Yonkers' Saunders High School who revealed that he was gay last year, said Sam's jersey sales are part of the world of sports business.
"I think the jersey sales indicate a couple things -- first, the LGBT market is still untapped," Nicodemo said. "Thousands of LGBT sports fans now have someone to support. The second part is the history. Michael Sam is in right now, and we all know how trends drive the market."
John Tacij of Dobbs Ferry said there are likely other gay players in the NFL.
"He is not the only gay player, but he is the only one to come forward," Tacaj said. "The sad part is that people still won't accept him, but that is their right as well. People tend to buy (jerseys) or gravitate toward what is trending at the time, and he's red hot."
Former Dobbs Ferry High School football star Curtis Brown said he believes a player's sexuality is not a matter for public discussion.
"I just think it's personal and it's not my business," Brown said. "What does what he likes sexually have to do with football? I don't see any reason why anyone needs to express their sexual likes to the public. That just me. I don't have a problem with it, just don't care to know. Heterosexual people are special too. We don't get parades and special treatment for telling people we are."
Yonkers native and former high school athlete John DeGrace said too much is being made of the issue when sports should be the focus.
"Is this about football or sexuality?" DeGrace asked. There's too much personal information on a sports issue. I don't get It. To me it's two separate issues."
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