He had to wait until the very end, but Michael Sam is already making up ground on his peers.
That’s right—Sam, the man who had to wait until the final eight picks of the draft, is outselling No. 1 overall draftee Jadeveon Clowney as of Monday morning.
The craziest part? Sam is outselling them after spending two more days "on the shelf" waiting for his name to be called. According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, Sam jerseys didn’t go on sale until 9 p.m. ET Saturday night.
Rovell reports that Sam’s agent, Cameron Weiss, considers the high sales an indication of the many new fans his client will bring to the game of football.
"We think this a sign of what we've been saying all along, that Michael's inclusion in the NFL is bringing fans into the game who weren't previously consumers of the NFL game," said Weiss.
Zeigler reports that NFL officials are calling the number of Sam’s jersey sales "unprecedented."
"This is unprecedented for a Day 3 pick, let alone a seventh round pick, to crack the top five rookies sold following Draft weekend," said NFL spokesperson Joanna Hunter, per Zeigler.
Naturally, some clowns are already attempting to stigmatize anyone wearing a Michael Sam jersey.
They only selling Michael Sam jersey as a jersey dress— Icufflightersnothoes (@reg76ing) May 12, 2014
If you get a Michael Sam jersey you suspect!— Mr. Awwsome (@MarkD_TaughtYou) May 12, 2014
Regardless, Sam is well on his way to becoming the first openly gay player to make an NFL 53-man roster, and if jersey sales mean anything, a heavy base of football fans are excited to see him play. Should he make the team and prove his worth this coming season, Sam could be the steal of the draft (not to mention a merchandising cash cow).
The St. Louis Rams might stand to profit heavily on and off the field from Sam. They will kick off the preseason with a game against the New Orleans Saints on August 8, and it’s likely fans will see Sam make his first plays as a member of an NFL roster.
This is all contingent on Sam making it through the rounds of cuts, but considering his college play and the business he brings to the table, it’s hard to imagine the Rams letting him go this early.
After all, tolerance pays—sometimes in cash.
On the Twitters.