SANTA CLARA -- Colin Kaepernick says gay linebacker Michael Sam would be welcome in the 49ers locker room if the University of Missouri product is drafted by the club in May.

"When he steps into that locker room, everyone is going to know he's there to help us win games. That's why you're in the NFL: to help us win games," Kaepernick said Sunday on ESPN, in advance of co-hosting Cartoon Network's "Hall of Game Awards" Monday night.

"Nobody cares if you're black, white, straight, gay, Christian, Jewish, whatever it may be. When you step on that field, you're a member, in my case, the 49ers. That's your job, your occupation."

Sam, who revealed earlier this month that he is gay, will take part in the NFL's scouting combine that begins Saturday in Indianapolis.

Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam came out to the entire country and could become the first openly gay player in America’s most popular
Missouri defensive lineman Michael Sam came out to the entire country and could become the first openly gay player in America's most popular sport. (Tim Sharp/Associated Press)

For the second straight year, Kaepernick will be at Cartoon Network's viewer-oriented awards show in Los Angeles. Co-hosting with him for Monday night's show is Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who Kaepernick and the 49ers eliminated in the NFC divisional playoffs last month 23-10.

Newton, also in the ESPN interview alongside Kaepernick, said the Panthers also would be happy to have Sam on their team.

Said Newton: "The main focus with football players is we're here in this organization for one reason and one reason only, and if you're helping us attain that winning success, your personal life is your personal life."

Jonathan Martin's bullying allegations against the Miami Dolphins didn't have a trickle-down effect with the 49ers last season, Kaepernick said.

"Nothing on our team changed," Kaepernick said. "We have a very tight knit group in our locker room. We joke around, we have a good time, we'll mess with each other here and there, but it's all in good fun.

"At the end of the day when we step on the field, they're on our side and they're helping us win games."