Michael Sam, who is set to enter the 2014 NFL Draft, made a big announcement this week that he is gay, during an interview with ESPN.
According to news reports, if the recently named Associated Press SEC Defensive Player of the Year in the Southeastern Conference does get drafted, the Missouri University football player will become the first openly gay NFL player.
He told ESPN, “I understand how big this is. It’s a big deal. No one has done this before. And it’s kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be … I want to be a football player in the NFL.”
“I didn’t realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me,” he said. “I want to own my truth. … No one else should tell my story but me.”
“Coaches just wanted to know a little about ourselves, our majors, where we’re from, and something that no one knows about you,” Sam said. “And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, ‘Michael Sam finally told us.'”
Sam explained how scared he was by telling the world about his sexuality saying:
I was kind of scared, even though they already knew. Just to see their reaction was awesome. They supported me from Day One. I couldn’t have better teammates. … I’m telling you what: I wouldn’t have the strength to do this today if I didn’t know how much support they’d given me this past semester.”
He also spoke about first finding out he was attracted to the same sex:
“I knew from a young age that I was attracted to guys,” he said, “I didn’t know if it was a phase … I didn’t want to say, ‘Hey, I might be gay. I might be bi.’ I just didn’t know … I wanted to find who I was and make sure I knew what was comfortable. So I didn’t tell anyone growing up.”
“I endured so much in my past: seeing my older brother killed from a gunshot wound, not knowing that my oldest sister died when she was a baby and I never got the chance to meet her. My second oldest brother went missing in 1998, and me and my little sister were the last ones to see him … my other two brothers have been in and out of jail since 8th grade, currently both in jail.
Watch the interview clip below:
I’m not sure how his teammates are going to feel being butt-naked in the locker knowing that Michael might be eyeing their toned physique, either way, we’re happy for the young college football star! And do hope he gets drafted.