Michael Sam will continue to make history this weekend when he takes the field for his first preseason game as the NFL’s very first openly gay player.
Sam made history earlier this year as the first NFL draft hopeful to be drafted into the NFL, albeit being a late draft pick, and stirred controversy when he kissed his boyfriend to celebrate the moment. His presence in the NFL has ruffled the feathers of more than a few conservative media pundits, but it’s also given him innumerable fans and a powerful voice for change — at the time of his draft, his rookie jersey was the second most popular.
One unlikely fan who’ll be rooting for Sam from the sidelines is Harry Potter actor Daniel Radcliffe, who describes the whole situation to Out as “fucking awesome.”
As a noted fan of American football, Radcliffe takes issue with Sam’s late draft and wishes him a “fucking brilliant” year:
I think it’s fucking awesome. It’s fantastic that he’s got a team. It’s horrendous that he slipped to 249 after being the SEC defensive player of the year. People can say whatever they like about his athleticism, or not fitting the bill for certain conditions or whatever, but the fact is no player in the last six years to win that award has been drafted lower than 16th overall, I think. So it’s sad that that was an issue. But I think he’s amazing, frankly.
In interviews, at no point does he allow himself to be portrayed as a victim or someone who deserves extra sympathy. He’s brilliant at shutting that down. I think everybody else just hopes he does fucking brilliantly this year, and that there’s [going to be] a list of quarterbacks who got sacked by a gay defensive end.
Firing back at comment trolls who bemoaned Sam’s televised kiss on ESPN, Radcliffe also commended the way Sam has handled his haters:
My favorite comments online were the ones that said, “I don’t mind him being gay, but I don’t want to see him kiss his boyfriend.” Well, you kinda do mind, then. Also, I presume Michael Sam told the world he was gay so that when he was drafted he could do that without having to fucking think about it or hide it. And I think that’s a fantastic thing. Hopefully Michael Sam’s taking the plunge for everyone who will come after him.
Check out the rest of Radcliffe’s interview over at Out.