A Christian lobbyist has promised to create a "relentless national boycott" for any American football team that drafts Michael Sam, an openly gay college star, into the NFL.
Jack Burkman, who runs a lobbying company in Washington, said he would move to make sure that any team that selects the player would get "roughed up financially", adding: "We shall exercise our First Amendment rights and shall not stop until the drafting NFL franchise cannot sell a single ticket, jersey or autographed football… in short, we shall be relentless."
The annual draft, in which promising college players are selected by professional teams, started on Thursday evening in New York and is set to continue over the weekend. Sam, who would become the first openly gay player in the NFL, has yet to be drafted.
Burkman, who said he hatched the plan after Sam came out in February, promised to mobilise a "coalition of Evangelical Christian leaders from across the nation to take part in a protest if Sam is drafted." He added in a statement: "We are losing our decency as a nation. Imagine your son being forced to shower with a gay man. That's a horrifying prospect for every mom in the country. What in the world has this nation come to?"
On Saturday Sam appeared at a press conference wearing a rainbow badge that said "stand with Sam", telling reporters that he would confront any player that had a problem with his sexuality.
"If someone wants to call me a name, I will have a conversation with that guy and hopefully it won't lead to nothing else," he said.