NFL commissioner Roger Goodell offered public support for Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam on Wednesday, telling an audience at Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH Coalition "Wall Street Project" in New York that he commended Sam for his decision to publicly disclose that he is gay.

If Sam joins an NFL team this year, he would become the first active player in league history to be openly gay.

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"Good for him," Goodell said in comments released by the NFL. "He's proud of who he is and had the courage to say it. Now he wants to play football."

Goodell said the league would welcome Sam, regardless of his sexual orientation. He added that the league would enhance its policy to underscore that commitment.

"We have a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation," he said. "We will have further training and make sure that everyone understands our commitment. We truly believe in diversity and this is an opportunity to demonstrate it."