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PopWrapped | Sports

Future NFL Player Michael Sam Announces “I’m Gay”

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PopWrapped

Updated 02/10/2014 10:03am
Future NFL Player Michael Sam Announces “I’m Gay”
Media Courtesy of Brandon Wade

Chessie Reiss

Staff Writer

  Last year University of Missouri defensive lineman, and future NFL player, Michael Sam, announced to his teammates and coaches, “I’m gay.”  Sam will be the first openly gay player in the NFL once he is drafted in May.  But, Sam’s announcement wasn’t surprising for those who knew him. “I looked in their eyes, and they just started shaking their heads – like, finally, he came out,” Sam told the New York Times on Sunday.  While in school Sam came out to two of fellow teammates,  who were unbothered by it.  Others had speculated that Sam was a homosexual, but no one had confronted Sam about it. Missouri’s football coach, Gary Pinkel, released a statement Sunday night regarding Sam’s news, saying, “Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others.  He’s taught a lot of people here firsthand that it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we’re all on the same team and we all support each other.” While there were undoubtedly varying degrees of acceptance from the team, just as in life when an individual comes out, Sam played down any repercussions.  Sam stated he had the full support of his team, coaches, and administrators. So far the response from the NFL has been positive, they released a statement saying, “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.” Other players though are not so sure about having a homosexual in the locker room.  Saints linebacker, Jonathan Vilma, openly stated in an interview last week that he did not want a gay teammate and thought, “he would not be accepted as much as we think he would be accepted.”  Ex Vikings punter, Chris Kluwe, claims he was subjected to homophobic language from coaches because Kluwe openly supported same-sex marriage laws. Throughout the years players have come out after having retired, but never prior to being drafted.  Sam could become a symbol of the gay rights movement, especially for those in extremely masculine sports. As of right now, it doesn’t sound like Sam is too concerned with being a movement icon.  He plans to attend the scouting combine, where potential players are tested mentally and physically to judge their preparedness for being in the NFL.  Sam could be too small to be a defensive end in professional capacity, so he would have to learn to play as an outside linebacker. However, Sam is not unaware of what his comments mean to others and how it could potentially affect when he’s drafted, “I’m not naïve.  I know this is a huge deal and I know how important this is.  But my role as of right now is to train for the combine and play in the NFL…  I just want to make sure I could tell my story the way I want to tell it.  I just want to own my truth.” The NFL draft begins Thursday, May 8, and will end on Saturday, May 10.  

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