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Michael Sam appears at halftime of Missouri-Tennessee (VIDEO)

Feb 15, 2014, 7:11 PM EDT

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Michael Sam made an appearance at halftime of the Missouri-Tennessee game on Saturday as the Tigers celebrated their football team’s Cotton Bowl victory.

Sam has dominated headlines over the past week as he announced on Sunday that he is gay. Sam is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC and a mid-round NFL Draft prospect.

The Missouri student section showed him quite a bit of love:

That wasn’t the most inspirational part of the day.

You see, Missouri students caught wind of the fact that the Westboro Baptist Church would be picketing Michael Sam on Saturday, so they formed a half-mile human barrier on Stadium Blvd. to keep the protesters from reaching Sam and to try to drown out their hate-speak by singing Missouri’s fight song.

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