Michael Sam, a ferocious 260-pound Missouri Tigers defensive end, the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and likely a high draft pick in May’s NFL draft, has announced he is gay.
“I’m Michael Sam. I’m a football player and I’m gay,” Sam told The New York Times. “I’m not afraid to tell the world who I am. I’m Michael Sam. I’m a college graduate. I’m African-American, and I’m gay.”
Sam announced the news to his teammates during a team-building exercise before last season and now he is sharing his story with the world. Sam had said that he didn’t want the news to leak before the NFL Draft, so he was ready to let everyone know now.
He even said some of his teammates already knew and were just waiting for him to say it. After coming out to the team, Sam said he felt more secure with himself and was able to go on and have an All-American season this past tear that will hopefully lead to him being drafted high in the 2014 NFL draft.
The fact that Sam told his teammates last summer and it never leaked should tell you how respected he is at #Missouri
— Dane Brugler (@dpbrugler) February 10, 2014
No NFL player has announced publicly he’s gay while his career is active. Several former players have said they’re gay after retiring, but no player has ever had to endure the notion that he is gay while actively playing.
This shouldn’t deter teams from drafting him in May’s NFL draft, but the media attention this will garner will likely be similar to what Manti Te’o went through during the draft process last year:
One concern from GMs was wisdom of Sam revealing publicly he is gay before Combine. Felt Te’o was “drained” for ’13 Combine testing — Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) February 10, 2014
GMs and experienced personnel men I spoke with say they were either aware Michael Sam is gay or heard scouts talking about it. — Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) February 10, 2014
Sam’s reps, Cameron Weiss & Joe Barkett, are working w league to find amicable solution for demands at Combine so he can focus on testing — Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) February 10, 2014
In the end, hopefully this doesn’t affect Sam’s pursuit of his NFL dreams, but this is an unprecedented situation he is going through.