‘I Am An Openly Proud Gay Man:’ NFL Prospect Michael Sam Comes Out
College football star Michael Sam may make history as the first openly gay player in the NFL. The pro ball prospect came out to the world this past weekend.
“I am an openly proud gay man,” the 6-foot-2 defensive end was quoted by the New York Times.
His announcement comes just two weeks before the annual NFL scouting combine. During his interview, the college athlete also revealed that during the 2013 season, his Missouri Tiger teammates were made aware of his sexuality when he came out to them at a gathering last year.
“I came out to my team this last August,” the 24-year-old told the Times. And coming out to them, they rallied around and supported me.”
He adds that his teammates were very supportive.
“I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads — like, finally, he came out,”
Sam is projected to be an early-round draft pick in the NFL this year and says he decided to come out because he wants to own his story.
“I’m coming out because I want to own my truth. With two weeks to go at the senior bowl, I didn’t know how many people actually knew about my sexual orientation. I just wanna own my truth before anyone breaks a story about me.”
While he realizes the magnitude of his revelation, the 260-pound NFL hopeful says he does not want to be defined by his sexual orientation.
“Is this a huge deal? I understand that it is, but my purpose and focus right now is playing football. I don’t think I should be defined as Michael Sam: the gay athlete, the gay football player. I want to be defined for being a great person and having great character.”
Following Sam’s announcement, the NFL released a statement commending him for his courage.
“We admire Michael Sam’s honesty and courage. Michael is a football player. Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”
Watch footage from Michael Sam’s interview on the next page. Thoughts?