Students at the University of Missouri joined together this weekend to block the Westboro Baptist Church from protesting Michael Sam.
Sam, a top prospect in this year’s NFL draft is expected to be the first openly gay athlete in the history of the National Football League. The church was protesting Sam’s first major public appearance since opening up about his sexuality to several media outlets. Sam was attending the University of Missouri’s basketball game.
The Westboro Baptist Church routinely protests against anything that they think may be condoning homosexuality. The hate-filled and archaic “religious” group had their supporters drowned out by a human wall around the stadium preventing them from getting too close.
Missouri students used the Twitter hashtag #standwithsam to document their support and efforts on social media. Many students brandished buttons bearing the same slogan.
Despite the strong turnout against their doctrine of hate, the Westboro Baptist Church took to their Twitter account to declare the event a success.
The church also co-opted the Missouri hashtag saying that they #standwithsamwheeler. Wheeler is a Kent State athlete who was recently suspended after a barrage of inflamatory and hateful tweets directed toward Michael Sam.
“On behalf of Kent State University, we consider these comments to be ignorant and not indicative of the beliefs held by our university community as a whole,” Kent State athletic director Joel Nielsen later said in a statement.