Former St. Louis Rams player Michael Sam made history by being the first openly gay man to be drafted into the NFL. Sam was drafted to the professional league after playing football at the University of Missouri– but now he’s no longer in the league, and he says the reason for that is the fact that he chose not to hide who he was, and instead made the face that he is a gay man public.
The Hollywood Reporter says that Sam had an interview with Dan Patrick last Friday, where he revealed his speculations on how his coming out affected his chances at professional football. He started out by saying that it didn’t happen the way it was supposed to:
I wanted to come out after I made an NFL roster, it really wasn’t supposed to be public. It was just supposed to be to the team, as I did at the University of Missouri.
But, indeed, the information about Sam’s sexuality did become public before he really wanted it to, because he feared media personalities who knew the truth outing him before he could out himself. So, he says he took the plunge before they could:
I wanted to be the one to tell my own story. I didn’t want someone telling it for me.
Sam’s decision earned him a spot in the history books, along with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. After getting cut from the Rams, and then the Dallas Cowboys, Michael Sam went to the Canadian Football League, but ultimately wound up back at his alma mater, the University of Missouri, in a Master’s program. When asked if coming out killed his football career, Sam said:
I’m not going to say … but it probably would have been better for me if I didn’t come out, I would be on a roster. But, as I said, I have no regrets whatsoever.
I’m glad you have no regrets, Mr. Sam. However, considering the fact that the NFL is an organization that covers up everything from animal abuse to domestic violence, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was homophobia that got you ousted.
Still, I, as a fellow LGBTQ community member, am very proud of you, and I hope you are proud of yourself, Mr. Sam. You’ve accomplished more than you know, and opened the door for a more tolerant National Football League, and that is priceless.
See the interview below: