Sunday, in separate interviews with ESPN and the New York Times, Missouri football’s 2013 MVP made an historic announcement:
“I’m Michael Sam, I’m a football player, and I’m gay.”
Sam, the Associated Press’ SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a mid-round NFL draft prospect, is now set up to be the first openly gay active male athlete in one of the four major American sports.
From his interview with the New York Times:
“Once I became official to my teammates, I knew who I was,” Mr. Sam said. “I knew that I was gay. And I knew that I was Michael Sam, who’s a Mizzou football player who happens to be gay. I was so proud of myself and I just didn’t care who knew. If someone on the street would have asked me, ‘Hey, Mike, I heard you were gay; is that true?’ I would have said yes.”
For Sam, who had been open to his Missouri teammates since prior to the 2013 college football season, Sunday’s announcement wasn’t the original plan. In fact, according to Sam’s agent, Joe Barkett, he was originally going to come out after the NFL draft. His plan changed following encounters with the Senior Bowl press.
From the SiriusXM NFL Radio Opening Drive:
Several other SiriusXM stations also collected reaction and analysis following Sam’s announcement. Howard Bragman, Sam’s publicist, told Larry Flick of OutQ’s The Jolt that Sam was happy in the aftermath of his announcement.
Free agent Chris Kluwe joined The SiriusXM Blitz with Rich Gannon and Bruce Murray and offered his thoughts on the news following his meeting with Sam.
Jackie Sherrill, a former Walter Camp Coach of the Year, told Tim Brando on SiriusXM College Sports Nation he would have handled Sam’s preseason announcement at Missouri in the same manner as Tigers football coach Gary Pinkel.
Adam Schein, host of Schein on Sports on SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio, offered congratulations to Sam.
“This to me is a beautiful and wonderful occasion. Courageous admission by Michael Sam. This is a watershed moment. He is a pioneer,” Schein said. “I believe – and we’ve talked about gay athletes in sports over the last nine years on Schein on Sports – […] the climate is right in sports and in society for an openly gay player. There is no question about that. I firmly belive that.”
Evan Cohen of Mad Dog Sports Radio’s Evan and Phillips echoed Schein’s thoughts toward Sam.
“It’s mind-boggling how amazing this guy is,” Cohen said. “I look at guys like him, I look at John Amaechi, I look at Jason Collins, as lifesavers. I do.”
For a free 30-day trial, click here http://bit.ly/1hLC8LU.