In Quotes

Michael Sam on the challenges of being the NFL’s first openly gay player

“I had to prove myself, to show that I was one of the guys. I was cut from the Rams, even though I was in the top five in sacks. Then I went to the Cowboys and had to do it all over again. And then I was cut there. I always felt like an outsider looking in.

When I came out to the world on Feb. 9, 2014, I  got tons of emails from people telling me how they were condemned for their sexuality. It made me sad and angry. I spoke to one girl who told me that because I came out, she didn’t commit suicide. I was speechless.

When I was drafted I thought the headline would be ‘NFL has first openly gay player,’ but instead it was ‘Sam kisses boyfriend.’ Should I have kissed a girl?

The media made it a distraction. I’m still baffled. I thought it would be a story for two weeks and then it would go away.

I tried to earn their trust, make them believe I belonged. Now I speak from the heart.” Michael Sam, in a lecture he gave for Sexuality Month at the University of Albany, discussing the trials and travails of coming out as the world’s first gay NFL player in 2014

h/t: Times Union