Updated: 2/12/2014 9:32 am
Davie, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross said in a statement Wednesday that the Dolphins would welcome Michael Sam with "open arms."
Sam, a draft hopeful after an All-American career at Missouri, made news this week by announcing he is gay. If drafted, Sam would become the first openly gay man on an active NFL roster.
"Michael Sam's announcement is a significant step in sports and I respect the choice that he made publicly," said Ross. "His announcement will have no bearing either way on our evaluation of him as a player. Dennis Hickey, Joe Philbin and I all agree on the same thing; we'll draft the best players that can help us win football games, have high character and contribute to the community. If he is a member of our organization, Michael will be welcomed here with open arms as part of our family."
Ross' statement comes after a season that saw the Dolphins become front page news for locker room dysfunction.
Offensive tackle Jonathan Martin left the team during the season after alleging bullying by teammates, specifically fellow offensive lineman Richie Incognito.
Martin tweeted his support of Sam earlier this week, "Hats off to you Michael Sam, that takes some guts #respect."
Martin left the Dolphins in late October before a Week 9 game against Cincinnati.
Incognito was suspended on Nov. 3 and didn't play the rest of the season. He allegedly used racial slurs and left threatening voicemails for Martin.
The NFL launched a probe into the Dolphins' workplace conduct, led by special investigator Ted Wells. The results will are likely be released in the coming weeks.