Michael Sam on coming out publicly: ‘If I had it my way, I never would have done it the way I did’
The first openly gay NFL draft pick said he would have preferred to disclose his sexual orientation only to his teammates and coaches, just as he had done as a senior at the University of Missouri. But Sam said word had spread and he wanted to get out in front of the story before it broke.
Michael Sam, the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team, never would have come out before May’s draft if he had it his way.
The free agent, who was released from the Dallas Cowboys practice squad last month, said in an article with GQ Magazine that he had preferred not to publicly disclose his sexual orientation.
“If I had it my way, I never would have done it the way I did, never would have told it the way I did,” the former University of Missouri star told the magazine. “I would have done the same thing I did at Mizzou. Which was to tell my team and my coaches and leave it at that.”
Sam disclosed that he was gay before his senior season at a team meeting. Though it was not discussed in public, Sam said word had spread.
“People think the word didn’t get out. It did. Or it did and it didn’t. They kept it confined within our family,” he said. “But the recruiters knew, and reporters knew, and they talked to each other, and it got out.”
I was comfortable with who I was, and I wouldn’t have denied it. And then I wouldn’t have been able to control the story.
Sam said he knew eventually someone would ask him about it.
“Well, I was comfortable with who I was, and I wouldn’t have denied it. And then I wouldn’t have been able to control the story,” he said.
“But I have no regrets. Some people can argue that I had the potential to go higher in the draft. But I think everything happens for a reason,” he said. “It looks good to see me in the position I’m in now, because I can show the world how good I am and rise up the ranks. I’m at the bottom now. I can rise up, show I’m a football player. Not anything else. Just a football player.”
The defensive lineman was selected with the 249th pick of the May 10th draft by the St. Louis Rams, despite being named the co-defensive player of the year in the Southeastern conference his senior season.
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