Michael Sam’s Father Is Really Not Happy That His Son Is Gay

140209210505-michael-sam-senior-bowl-horizontal-galleryIt takes a brave man to take on an institution like the NFL. But Michael Sam, the Missouri football player who came out over the weekend, had another hurdle to overcome: his own family. In particular, his father, for whom Sam is named, is especially unhappy with the news.

“I’m old-school,” Michael Sam Sr. told The New York Times. “I’m a man and a woman type of guy.” How old school? He took another of his sons to Mexico for the express purpose of losing his virginity, with a woman of course.

The Times story illustrates the difficult background that Michael Sam has had to overcome to achieve success. He is one of eight children. A sister drowned when she was two years old. One brother was shot and killed during a break-in; another hasn’t been seen since he left for work one day in 1998 and is presumed dead. Two other brothers are in jail. The family was well known in its hometown of Hitchcock, TX, for being troublesome.

Michael Sam found salvation in football, which caused a rift between him and his mother, a Jehovah’s Witness who doesn’t believe in sports. Sam was fortunate enough to find a coach who mentored him. He was even luckier to have a friend whose parents (the father was president of a local bank) took Sam into live with them. That family, the Purls, were instrumental in setting Sam’s sights on college.

Sam says now that he is “closer to my friends than I am to my family.” While he was out to his friends, teammates and adoptive family for some time, he only texted his father with the news last week. Michael Sam Sr. got the message while celebrating his birthday at a Denny’s near his home in Dallas.

“I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” Sam Sr. said. “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment.”

While Sam Sr. says he loves his son, he openly doubts the idea of an openly gay NFL player, even if that man is his son. The Times article says that Sam Sr. “grumbled” that NFL Hall of Famer Deacon Jones “is turning over in his grave.” Actually, to be fair to Jones, we have no idea how he would have felt.

Michael Sam Jr. acknowledges that his family life was tough. “It was very hard growing up in that environment,” he says. “Everyone would say, ‘There goes those damn Sams.’”

Sam is determined to rise above that past and to prove something to his family. “I knew the good in my family despite Hitchcock’s wariness about them. They didn’t know our background and the adversity we had to endure. I wanted to succeed and be a beacon of hope in my family.”

Whether his family likes it or not, he’s well on his way.

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  • Cagnazzo82

    It’s called ‘old school’ because out with the old and in with the new.

    I am glad I’ll be a part of the next generation, and not the previous one.

  • Scribe38

    That just made me love this kid all the more. I was raised a Witness and understand how hard it is to break free and be true to yourself coming from that faith.

  • litper

    Dumb breeders are dumb.

  • hephaestion

    I wouldn’t call his father “old school.” I’d call him “old fool.”

  • DShucking

    It just makes him seem all the more brave.

  • tjr101

    I can identify with Michael Sam in some ways. My parents are “old school” as well and the concept of being gay is something foreign that they just can’t grasp and won’t ever understand but they will always love their children.

  • Fitz

    I’m volunteering to be his new daddy.

  • CCTR

    I hope his potential NFL career doesn’t corrupt him. The NFL doesn’t deserve him.

  • dougmc92

    this is unfortunate…all the bigots out there in football and the media will use this to make their intolerance seem justified. ‘Well, If Michael’s own father has concerns, we can have them, too…’ I can hear it now!

  • DShucking

    Sometimes you have to leave the haters in your own family behind in order to save yourself, even your own parents. He may not be in such a dire situation but if he is I wouldn’t judge him for separating himself from them for his own sake. I have nothing but support for this guy.

  • Jersey2013

    That he just told his dad so recently gives me hope the old man will eventually come around. Sometimes it takes family a while to get used to it and accept it. I hope his dad comes around.

  • Tackle

    Can we do without the childish name calling for just a minute!?! His father is not an idiot or a fool. He is expressing a natural parent reaction, that is quite common. I don’t know, or have never heard of any parent of a LGBTQ, when finding out their child is such, will jump up and, down, in delight, do cartwheels, and look for someone to highfive. It just dosen’t happen. His reaction is no different than what many of are parents had. The main thing is that he loves his son, regardless. So in time, I’m sure he be will come around. Like many of our parents have.

  • Kangol

    From a similar background, with similar “old school” father. That makes me champion, appreciate and want to do everything I can to support Michael Sam and every other person like him. Like us. Stay strong, Michael Sam, and keep moving forward!

  • Patsy Stoned

    Sorry Tackle, but if the old phobe really loved his son he would have responded “no comment” and worked out their issues in private, where they should be worked out.

    This attitude from his own family, and the idiotic reaction of the anti-gay world of sports, is why Michael Sam is one brave guy.

  • Jeffy1091

    Sadly, his father will most likely be the first one to ‘forgive and forget’ about his son’s homosexuality after Michael starts bringing in the bucks from football and endorsements.

  • yaoming

    I don’t give a fig about football, but after this guy’s drafted I’m buying his jersey (even if I have to mail-order it).

  • Deepdow

    You are incorrect to assert that it’s natural for parents to automatically be dismayed with their child’s homosexuality. Maybe if the parents are ignorant and had been conditioned by anti-gay religion and society, then sure.
    You also assume that all parents are opposite-sex couples. Gay parents who have gay children don’t have to come to terms with anything.

    Stop thinking the way you do about this topic, it’s outdated and illogical.

  • Apparatus


    THIS. I’ve never bought sports merch of any kind in my life, but I will buy his. Are you listening NFL recruiters?

    Also, this story is so depressing. I just hope Michael Sam knows that even if his own family can’t support and love him for who he is, a lot of other people will and do.

  • jasentylar

    @yaoming: We need more people to support our own. I’m right there with you, bud.

  • oilburner

    I bet this guy looks great naked.

  • sejjo

    It’s old school to take your son to Mexico to lose his virginity?! I thought old school was remaining celibate until you get married, and if you don’t get married, then you remain celibate forever. And what the hell does it mean to not believe in sports? That’s actually a religion?? I need some education.

  • jasentylar

    @sejjo: Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t have a problem with football…at least their religion doesn’t. Whether or not the people themselves do has nothing to do with the religion.

  • jar

    @Tackle: Natural parent reaction? From a parent who seems to have been horrible at raising his sons? A man with two dead sons and two in jail doesn’t get any respect as a parent from me.

  • NotStr8Acting

    @Tackle: What are you talking about? Just the way you frame being gay is as though YOU feel there’s something wrong with it. PLENTY of parents accept their kids being gay realizing it’s an inherent human condition. The way you even phrase this narrative lends weight to people who think there is something wrong with their child being gay, and hence leads to some terrible consequences for gay youth (including suicide). What we need to do is make sure parents are accepting and OPEN to being accepting. The apologist crowd really go over and beyond to excuse any form of disdain for gays.

  • SteveDenver

    Michael Sam’s mother doesn’t “believe in” sports because she’s a Jehovah’s Witness. Guess what: lots of JW’s don’t believe BLACK people are going to heaven.

    Michael Sam’s father doesn’t like that he’s gay. To quote the film Weekend: “Nature or nurture, it’s totally your fault he’s gay.”

    What will it take to make these parents happy? Fukkem both. Live your own life Michael and be happy IN SPITE of your parents and their petty protestations.

  • RobertJohns

    Some parents just can’t deal. Just like most folks don’t like us gays.It’s unfortunate but you just gotta get on with your life. I really wish Sam had waited until he was already drafted to come out, maybe he doesn’t want a career in football anymore. Coming out now is professional suicide.

  • Texasteacher

    Parents sometimes come around and sometimes not. Sometimes the ones you expect no support from really come through and sometimes the ones who seem like they were always open-minded never come through. You just have to have the integrity to be yourself and others with that same integrity will accumulate in your life on the way. The weak will fall away. You’ll be fine!

  • darren1989

    @SteveDenver: Not true JW believes ‘black’ people don’t go to heaven they do NOT believe in heaven I can say this being raised by a Jehovah Witness adoptive mother myself is that his mother will NOT accept or like him out as gay as it is strongly against their beliefs.

    He seems strong and obviously refuses to live his life for others, it is no easy thing be raised in that particular religion and come out like he has trust me! he really deserves and needs the LGBGT support right now as he has literally broken down the door in the NFL.

    Its ironic because if you look at statistics there must be so many closet cases in the NFL at least Michael Sam is not a Coward.

  • scott609

    Can you imagine having an asshat like that for a father? No wonder he had to find another family.

    As far as the old man not wanting his grand-kids around that, I can’t imagine ever letting my child near him. Three kids dead, two in jail, and he dislikes the only successful one. Yea, this guy is def a role model for good fathers everywhere.

  • HirsuteOne

    Oh STFU Mister, Celie aint taking your BS anymore. 10-1 his attitude will change once JR gets a big dollar contract and Mister wants a new suit, hideous gold jooree and a Lexus.

  • HirsuteOne


    If I wanted your opinion, I would have told you to take a number. I could care less what you think of my opinion.

  • HirsuteOne

    Father abandons the family, two kids in jail, one killed in a gang imitation, another missing and probably dead, a little girl drowned after being pushed off a pier by another child & this man is out of sorts and goes drinking because his son is gay and can’t take him to a Mexican whore to pop his cherry? Yeah, he’s old school. He’s a piece of shit who hasn’t been in this family’s life and now he’s surfacing to give his backward opinion.

  • RobertJohns

    @HirsuteOne: Well that was a good comment at least you don’t sound like a bigot, just a self important jerk.

  • HirsuteOne


    Your salty crocodile tears are somewhat of a turn on, but you ruin it when you speak.

  • HirsuteOne


    Just for the record, telling someone they are a self important jerk is usually the first clue that you are one too. Pot…kettle?

  • HirsuteOne

    Anyone else faux outraged and concerned, take a number and have a seat in the pearl clutching room. I’ll check back in after the snowstorm.


  • Cam

    So the good kid is the gay one. I’m sure all of those old school bigots are trying to find a way to hide that fact.

  • Caleb in SC

    Too bad for Dad — it’s not his life.

  • RobertJohns

    @HirsuteOne: Sorry. I did not mean to rub you the wrong way. My husband is quite furry and I would never stroke my DOG against the grain, so to speak. Perhaps we got off on the wrong foot or paw, which ever may apply. You obviously have more information than I and I defer to your assessment. His motives are indeed mercenary to what ever extent.

  • Kieran

    Watch how quickly the stumblebum, homophobic father has a quick change of heart about gays once his gay son becomes RICH.

  • tdx3fan

    @Tackle: I hold my parents accountable for the stupidity that they put me through when I first came out. I think that this guy is deeply flawed for many reasons. The fact that he is not accepting of his own son is besides the point. He had eight children and failed to raise all of them. He probably never even bothered to support them as well. He is a scum bag, and his idea of parenting is atrocious. He should be happy that his grandchildren will grow up with a loving father or two that will do so much better than his bigoted self.

  • tdx3fan

    @Deepdow: I disagree. I feel that gay parents that have gay children still deal with the same issues. Possibly even more so because you know how many struggles that child will have to go through first hand. Its perfectly acceptable to want nothing but the best for your children and for them to have the best possible life, and being gay is a harder life. Its not acceptable for you to judge your children and make their life harder… that is what makes you an unfit parent.

    This whole story still reeks of TMZ catching him on video and then deciding they wanted to out him, and him jumping on and doing it first himself. The wording he used… “I want to own my truth!” and the fact that he didn’t come out to anyone but his closest friends before he decided to come out nationally just scream damage control.

  • tdx3fan

    @darren1989: JWs believe in Heaven. They just believe that 144,000 people will go there and will rule over the people on the recreated earth. They know who these 144,000 people are because these 144,000 feel that they are destined to rule over everyone and go to heaven. So, if you want to be revered in that religion, you just claim to be one of the 144,000.

    Also, I have never known JWs to have a problem with sports. However, JWs lead a very contradictory life to what their books and prophets actually say. They all do their own thing until the Kingdom Hall finds out about it.

  • tricky ricky

    who gives a rats ass what the absent dead beat father thinks. as sonn as the bucks start rolling in the man will be in the line for his handout like it is his due.

  • tricky ricky

    @RobertJohns: HE’S RIGHT!

  • tricky ricky

    @HirsuteOne: you’re right.

  • Geoff B

    How much does anyone want to bet that if Micheal is a high draft pick (and I can come up with 3 teams that should draft him in the first round without even thinking about it) that dear old derelict Dad is the first one to all of a sudden be super proud of “his boy, taught him everyting I know”. Michael,Im old enough to be your Dad, and I urge you to not fall for that. He clearly doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Stick with those who genuinely care about you and will want to protect your career and your money. With your talent and the right people around you, you can be groundbreaking and worth a shitton of money. Be careful and don’t let the haters get to you. Talk to the wise men of the NFL. Strahan, and Dungy would be a good starting point.

  • Xtian99

    “…his mother, a Jehovah’s Witness who doesn’t believe in sports…”
    like she doesn’t think they really exist? or she can see them but still doesn’t believe in them?
    yet she believes in a burning shrubbery that speaks english and a guy lived inside a whale…. this I what happens when you give half wits fairy tales…
    Poor dim sad thing…

  • tjbfl

    I bet his Dad will rethink his mindset once his openly gay son signs his hefty NFL contract with what will likely be a nice signing bonus. I wish Michael Sam all the best and for his Dad, he’s to stupid to appreciate what his son has already accomplished (college graduate)and his son is a better man than he’ll ever be.

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