COLUMBIA, MO—After sending shockwaves through the sports world by publicly coming out as gay, University of Missouri defensive end and highly rated draft prospect Michael Sam expressed optimism Monday that his newly revealed sexuality won’t be an issue in an NFL locker room filled with rage-driven, testosterone-fueled former high school bullies. “I know my decision to come out is unprecedented in professional football, but I’m hopeful that my future teammates, many of whom once used their strength and intimidating physical stature to torment any of their peers whom they deemed weird or different, will respect me,” Sam told reporters, adding that while he doesn’t expect everyone to necessarily embrace his homosexuality, he hopes to at least receive fair treatment from fellow professional athletes who spent their formative years screaming “Faggot!” at effeminate classmates before shoving them into walls and punching them in the backs of their heads. “At the end of the day, we’re football players focused on winning games, so conceivably my sexual orientation won’t be a distraction to a group of oversized men essentially paid to violently express their anger on a daily basis and whose physical aggression toward others pretty much defines who they are as human beings.” Sam was also reportedly confident that his announcement will not adversely affect his draft stock among teams looking to capitalize on his sexual orientation in order to boost their own public image.