2013 SEC Sacks Leader Michael Sam Comes Out

February 9, 2014 at 8:29p    by DJ Byrnes    
80 Comments

Michael Sam, the 2013 SEC sacks leader and former Missouri defensive end, has announced he is gay. Apparently he informed the team last season, and everyone kept it quiet until Sam himself was ready to make it public.

February 9th, 2014, is that day.

Sam is poised to become the first openly gay player in NFL history, but enough of my words; here's the big fellah himself on the process:

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. 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. And I used that opportunity just to tell them that I was gay. And their reaction was like, 'Michael Sam finally told us.' 

And that, my friends, is how history is made. Congrats to Michael Sam on an absolutely monumental decision. 


80 Comments

Comments

JozyMozy's picture

Awesome, awesome, awesome. It takes a brave, obviously strong young man willing to (try to) be the first openly gay NFL player. The timing- before the draft, out where everyone can see him- is just the best. Congrats, Mike. 

+11 HS
ohst8buxCP's picture

Wow great for him. An announcement like this has been a long time coming. Can't imagine how hard it would be to announce something like that especially right before starting an NFL career. Glad to see someone stepping up and paving the way for other possibly gay players in CFB and the NFL.

+9 HS
Philly White's picture

This takes an incredibly strong person, and it's going to give more kids courage to be themselves. Way to go, Mike. You've got a fan in me.

+10 HS
Deadly Nuts's picture

Congrats, good for him. He better get drafted or else there will be a bunch of gay rights activist on an outrage.

LEBRON

+1 HS
Jake in Cali's picture

This is huge. A real historic moment. 

+4 HS
Jack_Q_Football's picture

 

Nothing against Sam, or gays for that matter. But comments like "...brave, strong man..."  and  "...it takes an incredibly strong person..."

Give me a break!

What is brave about sexuality.

We will be bombarded with this news story about a gay football player, but another news story about a football player came out today that nobody is talking about. Real bravery is Daniel Rodriguez...

http://collegefootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2014/02/08/story-of-war-hero-tu...

People abuse the word "great", "brave", "courageous", "strong", etc. nowadays. But, I'm sure we will hear about 5% of the coverage in news stories when it comes to Rodriguez versus Sam. Rodriguez literally risked his life for this country. Sam came out. Rodriguez is the real hero, not Sam. Rodriguez is the brave person. Rodriguez's story is real news.

+3 HS
millertime2011's picture

Completely disagree with you. Just because Rodriguez is a hero doesn't mean Sam isn't, too. This is part of the new civil rights movement. People called and still call Jackie Robinson a hero (and he was/is) so why not Sam? This is a huge moment in our country's history. The fact that there have been numerous gay football players in the NFL (statistically there has to have been) and no one has been out shows how big of a deal this is. Also, Rodriguez is a hero but I'm not sure a story about someone buying the movie rights to his story (which was already known) is a bigger deal than potentially the first out NFL player. Both are heros, but to deny that Sam is a hero in the new civil rights movement is shortsighted.

+7 HS
Jack_Q_Football's picture

What a f*cking insult to African-Americans in this country to compare the horrors they had to deal with to today's gay rights movment.

You could not be more wrong in comparing the two, and saying this is the new "civil rights movement".

Unreal.

-4 HS
millertime2011's picture

I'm sorry if you misunderstood, but comparing two things does not mean that they are equal (my original point to your first post). Yes, African Americans went through awful times, but to downplay the prejudice and yes, even violence, that gay people go through, even today, is wrong. And, by the way, I in no way came up with calling this the new civil rights movement--it's used by many people, especially in the academic community. And, by literal definitions, this IS a civil rights movement as it is dealing with the civil rights (marriage, how that impacts taxes, etc.) of a group of people. 

+13 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

michael sam is brave because there are literally millions of homophobes and bigots in this country and elsewhere that look at him like he's less of a human being because of his sexual orientation. to publicly declare that he's gay right before he enters the process to become part of the most popular, widely watched and followed sport in the US, thereby opening himself up to unending insults and threats, is brave.

no one on this site has ever had their lives scrutinized in the way michael sam is going to have his scrutinized, simply for stating that he's gay. it takes an incredible amount of guts to even consider doing what he's done.

if you can't at least acknowledge that, while sam's risk isn't the same as someone who fought for their country, is still an amazingly huge and brave step for someone in his position to take publicly, then i honestly feel bad for you.

because if that's the case then you'll never be able to appreciate any act of courage less than someone shooting a gun.

Jack_Q_Football's picture

A member of the Army goes through a LOT more than just "shooting a gun". Why don't you just insult every single military member while your'e at it. Pathetic.

I don't care if you're anti-war or not, you HAVE to respect what guys like Rodgriguez go through. He had 8 guys in his unit die in front of him...I doubt many people could deal with that mentally, then come back and have the balls to live out a dream. Much braver than somebody coming out as gay.

Spare us your asenine comments about what you think is "courage".

 

-13 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

obviously what rodriguez went through and did was courageous, and of course i respect that. i've got tons of friends and coworkers who either have been or are in the military, and their sacrifice is beyond anything that i'll ever do.

but you're totally missing my point; there's no metric, no bravery thermometer that we can refer to when we see something that takes guts. people saying that sam being gay and out is brave doesn't make what rodriguez did any less so.  michael sam coming out as gay is still a huge, and i guess it doesn't matter whether you think so or not. the fact that most people would say that it is makes it so. 

i'll put it this way: if you want to be angry that it's a big deal that a person simply stating their sexual orientation gets some people really upset and other people really surprised and excited, then yeah. that kind of pisses me off that's the case too.

Jack_Q_Football's picture

Ok, sorry, maybe I missed your point

+10 HS
Philly White's picture

Michael Sam is brave and courageous because of people like you.

+6 HS
Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I get your point. I don't thing anyone is wrong here. It's not a dick show - courageous acts are courageous acts. It's probably best to not to quantify out of respect for everyone involved. 

Read my entire screen name....

+2 HS
sb97's picture

One of Jack's downs vote was me.   I felt like you missed the entire point of the post and were unnecessarily inflammatory.

For the record.  People weren't saying he is brave because he is gay.  They are calling him brave because he is willing to admit it even though he knows it will make his road that much tougher.  Make no mistake, he is now a target for discrimination.

+13 HS
bbb's picture

Why are you being so aggressive about this? Why can't you recognize that two different things can both be brave without trying to disparage others?

+6 HS
Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Not that I'm disagreeing with anyone's point, but if we don't make a big deal of it, it becomes not a big deal.  For lack of a better analogy, if your two year old throws a tantrum and we make a big deal of it, or our dog acts up and we immediately focus our attention in them, we're sending the wrong message.  Not to say this action is anything short of progressive, but gay people are everywhere. They have been part of and contributing to society for years. I get that this is the first NFL player to come out and I get that the NFL may not be the most "gay friendly" place, but to celebrate this like a holiday and historic moment (I see the other side here), still puts homosexuality in a unique and atypical view. I'm not sure what the right answer is and we definitely need to make these progressive movements, but maybe somewhere in between this and "no big deal" is where we need to be, or perhaps strive to be. 

End rant. 

Read my entire screen name....

+9 HS
sb97's picture

Hopefully making a big deal of the first makes things much easier for numbers 2, 3, 4, and so forth :)
 

+2 HS
Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

It should, but my point is more about gay being gay and not gay being a big deal.  You're right though, this is a facilitator towards both our points. 

Read my entire screen name....

+1 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

I get what you are saying. I look forward to this no longer being "news". I am pro-gay rights, but we will truly know that they are treated like everyone else when stories like this stop being a big deal.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

+3 HS
Buckeye Chuck's picture

Couple of things: First, you can't very well say "nobody is talking about" Daniel Rodriguez and at the same time post a link to a story about him.

Second, Sam obviously isn't going to be in mortal danger for having made this declaration, but he's chosen to be a pioneer at an extremely vulnerable time. NFL prospects go out of their way to not make waves heading into the draft -- it's a very conformist business -- so he's taking a major professional risk. And yes, that's courageous, and it's not taking anything away from Daniel Rodriguez to say so.

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

+7 HS
bbb's picture

You really burst into this topic with a lot of anger and vitriol

+1 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

It's huge news because it's literally never happened before, and it's something that people high-up in the league said that they weren't ready for just a few months ago. Additionally, the league shut down a handful of gay NFL players who planned on coming out, and Kerry Rhodes was blacklisted by the league when rumors surfaced that he was gay.

It's a huge deal. Rodriguez's decision is also a huge deal. Let's not trivialize either of their choices. Both take immense bravery.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+1 HS
Lampidudelj's picture

I'm sorry, but unless you, yourself is gay it's impossible to understand all the crap gay people have to deal on daily basis. It takes a lot of guts to put yourself out there and come out, risking to be ostracized, loosing family members and friends. Plus, once you come out, you basically have to do it every single time you meet a new person. It takes a strong person to take that plunge.

Hovenaut's picture

I applaud Michael Sam's courage, this is a historic moment.

+6 HS
KingsRite's picture

In my opinion this topic is Political and Religious in nature. Shouldn't be discussed here.

“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer-

+9 HS
Jason Priestas's picture

It's not a political issue. It's a civil rights issue. It's up for debate whether it's a religious issue. Whose religion?

This is here because whether some like it or not, it's a pretty damn big story. Feel free to not discuss it.

SonOfBuckeye's picture

It's not a political issue. It's a civil rights issue.

Civil rights issues are inescapably political. 

+6 HS
hodge's picture

This isn't a civil rights issue, either.  It's a gay man with a legit draft stock who's revealed his lifestyle.

The fact that he faces harassment for said lifestyle is what's political.  The fact that he has the balls to deal with said oncoming shitstorm is what makes him courageous.

There's no law against a gay person in the workplace, therefore there's no civil rights barriers being broken here.  This is merely someone standing up to a mentality that's dissuaded others from doing the same, and it's something that deserves respect.

Gay marriage is a topic that's inescapably political and religious.  A man coming out of the closet is not.

+1 HS
hodge's picture

*EDIT - Jason beat me to it.

Discussion can easily go that way, but the topic is big news in the sports world -- which is the same reason that the site covered the national title game, even when Ohio State wasn't playing in it.

The news is apolitical, we make is as such with our commentary.

+18 HS
bbb's picture

Political and religious are two things that this is not about

+8 HS
kingjamborah's picture

I'm with you, KingsRite.

JammaRamma

+2 HS
JollyFatMan's picture

Homosexuality isn't religious and/or political until you make it that way. 

 

Proud the young man to do this in a very strongly male dominated and heterosexually fueled sport. Keep on keeping on. 

How firm thy friendship..

+15 HS
sharks's picture

I guess I don't see how sexual orientation is religious or political.

He's a brave dude though.  Came out to his team, at a (relatively) southern university, and now is letting the nation know right before the draft.

The postgame show is brought to you by... Christ, I can't find it. The hell with it...

+6 HS
teddyballgame's picture

Hopefully in 10 or 20 years it isn't news when a gay player makes the league.  Congrats though.

+8 HS
NoVA Buckeye's picture

Everyone is making a big deal about how big it is of him to come out and I appreciate and respect that.

Here's who we SHOULD be talking about: His teammates.

It takes a lot to accept a homosexual among you in a sport where you share bonds and need to work as a team to accomplish goals. The fact that his teammates supported him speaks highly to me and of what Gary Pinkel is doing at Mizzou. Kudos to them all.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

+16 HS
Jagon1119's picture

And we should be talking about how those 100 plus people didn't out him until he was ready to talk about it himself.  

+11 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

Not just the team, either. There are a bunch of anecdotes on /r/nfl and /r/cfb from Mizzou students who say that pretty much everyone knew, and that they all accepted him and waited for him to publicly come out.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

+2 HS
NoVA Buckeye's picture

Alums, too. Kind of crazy and awesome how they've all kept their mouths shut about it until he was ready.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

bbb's picture

It takes a lot to accept homosexuality if you're a bigot

+2 HS
Lon_Paul's picture

Proud of Mr. Sam and wish him the best of luck.

+1 HS
johnblairgobucks's picture

this story has all the makings of  a whispered gossip session that two old neighborhood biddies would share over iced tea on a front porch....... Who's down with OPP?

buckskin's picture

This is an important story because he will be the 1st openly active gay player in the NFL and it should be discussed here on 11W.  This issue is definitely religious because of what people think about these actions in terms of right and wrong, so the understanding must be there that some will comment on the religious angle of this topic.

+5 HS
gumtape's picture

I give thanks to Michael Sam for saving us weeks of hearing about whether Manziel will be a successful NFL quarterback.

just another psycho, irrational, delusional Ohio St fan

+8 HS
NoVA Buckeye's picture

LOL I think you meant days but every minute counts!

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

+1 HS
TNbuckeye91's picture

This is awesome. That's gotta be very relieving to get that off his chest. This story has nothing to do with politics, religion, Rodriguez, or anything else except for Michael Sam and his sense of well being. This is why we can't have nice things. People want to twist things to make it about what they want it to be about. It's very good of his teammates that they didn't talk about it to anybody and let him say it when he felt comfortable to do so. One of my very best friends came up to me one day a couple years back and just started balling, (I've known him for a very long time and I already knew what he was going to say) and he says to me, "Kris, I gotta tell you something. I'm gay man." so in return I say, "yeah....what about it." and he just started laughing and all was well in the world. My point is, I wish that's how this story would go. I wish this is how everyone would react to anyone's lifestyle choice that has no effect on them. I know it won't, and I know there will be many people who will use this against the guy and he will be judged and ridiculed for it. None-the-less, this is great for the big fellah, and i wish him the best.

BeijingBucks's picture

Shame he had to come from a Missouri team that sucks... 

Egads.  now are we gonna have to be PC when we make fun of the SEC?  That simply will not do. Here come the down-votes.... I for one wish he hadn't come out cause now when B1G deride the vaunted SEC we will get labeled 'bigots' (or maybe 'B1Gots').

Personally I have never been one on the gay rights bandwagon and comparing it to civil rights like anti-slavery.  Too many abuse and flaunt their sexuality in a way that should not be acceptable to a modern society (both Homo and Hetero) and attempt to pretend these actions are not a 'choice'.  Whereas the color of one's skin and the historical context of domination because of such an unimportant detail is clearly beyond an individual's personal choice.

Prejudice of any kind is awful: Racial, Economic, Handicapped, Sexual, etc.

That all being said and dangerously close to being political (which I abhor in a Buckeye thread), yeah this kid is brave as he is willing to challenge the entire establishment.  Gotta respect that he is willing to risk millions to do so.  Question is will it hurt his draft stock?  Will his NFL teammates accept him?  Will Taylor Lewan admit he is a #ickhead douche?!

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+3 HS
Buckeyeneer's picture

Oh, don't you worry. This will not effect SEC bashing one iota.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

+1 HS
bbb's picture

What on God's green earth makes this political? 

-3 HS
BeijingBucks's picture

seriously?  perhaps it's matter of opinion but I can't really believe that.  But ESPN is all over it as all they see are controversy, hits and show me the money!

 

 

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton

+1 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

Hopefully there will be a day when these types of things aren't headline stories, and I mean that in the best possible way. Since this is primarily a sports website and we try and keep political/personal views on subjects such as homosexuality, etc. to a minimum, I will say this from a football perspective: It shouldn't matter if you are white, green, black, blue, orange, gay, straight, etc, etc, if you can play football at a high level, I want you on my football team. Good luck to the man, and I hope his decision is embraced and treated appropriately by others.

+3 HS
bukyze's picture

Congratulations, Sam.  Hopefully a step in changing the culture in the NFL.  Maybe this won't be such a big deal in a few years.  Dude is going to be an absolute stud in the NFL.  

buckeye4life050233's picture
+5 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture
+1 HS
buckeye4life050233's picture
+1 HS
buckeyedude's picture

I'm tired of hearing about it.

 

 

+1 HS
Jeeves's picture

Don't you know it is not enough to be tolerant? You must show sufficient enthusiasm!

I didn't get a harrumph out of that guy! 

+2 HS
Riggins's picture

Big news. Best of luck to him in the coming months and years. With the scrutiny he gets, he's going to need it.  I hope his supporters outweigh his haters.

For everyone saying "Why is this news?  I'm straight. I don't go around announcing it to everyone! *rabblerabble*", you are missing the point.  Being straight affects your job opportunities, social opportunities, marriage opportunities, and religious opportunities by ZERO PERCENT.  Being openly gay tremendously increases those odds. 

If you want to stop hearing about "coming out" press conferences, stop preventing gays from getting jobs, leadership positions in the community/organization, and stop preventing them from participating fully in all the aspects of our society.

+4 HS
TBDBITL0509's picture

Yup. 

I recently heard a podcast from "Freakonomics" on the topic of "Are Gay Men Really Rich?" - one super interesting point from a guest: 

For every eight jobs a straight man applied for, he got invited to an interview. But gay men had to apply for eleven jobs to even get just one interview. So that’s just at the interview stage. And I suspect that that differential treatment between the gay and the straight applicants is likely to be seen in other ways, if we could actually study this further into the employment process.

buckeyerose's picture

Brave young man doing this, I wish him well.  It has to take tremendous courage to make an announcement like this and tell family and friends.  Kudos to Michael Sam and to the players and coaches at Mizzou.  Well played.  

Just win!  

KingsRite's picture

Can the implementation of "Civil Rights" be separated from the political arena? Was the "Civil Rights Movement" neither politically nor religiously driven? Would the advancement of the LGBT community be possible without politics? Would the opposition to the LGBT community be possible without religion?

“I have yet to be in a game where luck was involved. Well-prepared players make plays. I have yet to be in a game where the most prepared team didn't win.” -Urban Meyer-

+1 HS
vitaminB's picture

Good for him.  Good for America.  Folks if you're on the other side of this thing, you're going to come off looking like Strom Thrumond in the long run.

+1 HS
Frankly Scarlet's picture

His choice. For the sake of the team and fans he plays for, I wish him success.

What irritates me is when people choose a lifestyle, present it fully as their "identity", then label those who do not agree with them as intolerant/hateful/etc. 

Whether sexual, religious, political, or some combination of these things, I can pretty much do without the "agenda". It's up to me to love and accept people, not change them - but stereotyping me for disagreeing with your lifestyle choice is equal to me stereotyping you for making it.

 

 
"Buclkle your chinstrap, we're gonna grind meat!" - Woody Hayes  
 

+4 HS
vitaminB's picture

He's not trying to make it his identity.  The fact is he has to come out and be public about it so that in ten years we won't give it a second thought.  The first to do something is always going to be a big deal and has to be a public thing.  I won't stereotype you as being closed minded, but if you can't open your mind to accept someone else for how they were born, I don't have to.

+1 HS
Katzfan's picture

Are you saying that he chooses to be gay?  I apologize if I am misunderstanding you.  Just looking for clarity.

"You're pissed because we went after a committed guy? Guess what, we got nine guys who better go do it again. Do it a little harder next time." -- Urban Frank Meyer  -- I LOVE THIS DUDE!! :)

TBDBITL0509's picture

If you thinks it's a choice, you should get to know an LGBT person. "I just knew" or "I tried hard to date the opposite sex" or "the only choice I made was to be true to myself" are common quotes from the LGBT community when asked if it's a choice. Recent studies also highly suggest that it is indeed very biological.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

The mother of my children is bi-sexual. Lesbians are the absolute worst at giving her hell for 'pretending' or 'hiding' her true nature (ie that she should only like women). So you'll pardon me if I'm not overly impressed with the views of someone just because they're gay. Their opinions are often just as hypocritcal as anyone in the straight community.

+1 HS
TBDBITL0509's picture

I'm not saying someone should get a pass on their views for being gay, but I do think anyone who insists its a choice is choosing to ignore overwhelming scientific evidence and theory to the contrary. 

I will agree with you on one thing: the gay and lesbian population has been strangely harsh on bisexuals. I really don't know the motivation or source, other than maybe trying to get someone to count in their ranks (strength in numbers) or jealousy (men don't want to be left for a woman or vice versa). 

Jdadams01's picture

First off, I'm glad Sam exercised his right to express himself and live how he wants.

Secondly, while I don't have any vitriol against Sam or his life, I do agree with the comments that expressed concern about this being placed on 11W. Whether anyone wants it to be or not, this is both a political and religious discussion in our society today and is polarizing in a way that can only cause arguments/bad feelings between users.

Jason, this is your show obviously, but I would recommend that if you want to keep the community as primarily a sports-focused bunch that has mostly amicable discussion, all would benefit from 11W not offering opinions on hot-button topics such as this. I love this community, it's by far my favorite on the web, and I would hate to see us lose members because of topics that are much more divisive than Johnny Football. Just food for thought. 

+1 HS
Johnny Ginter's picture

i'll say the same thing that i did when we threw up a buckshot for gene smith's involvement in the "you can play" effort:

it's huge news. and it's legit college football news that is relevant to both college football at large and to ohio state. we're a college sports news site, and if we don't at least make a passing mention of the biggest news story in college sports right now then we're not doing our jobs.

just because something's controversial or might piss some people off means that we can ignore it if it's relevant. i mean, look, if you're worried about arguments or bad feelings i guess we should just refrain from discussing any losses whatsoever and autocorrect "luke fickell" to "kittens and skittles" in every comment thread

Jdadams01's picture

I'm not saying don't report it, but offering opinions invites arguments. Again, it's your show. Just trying to offer constructive thoughts.

+1 HS
TomD's picture

I'm pretty sure that we have already entered a time in which, to have a particular point of view on this matter (shall we say the "liberal" view) is acceptable, even encouraged, while to have any alternate point of view is deemed unacceptable, even "hateful."  Even on a sports website.

"I love football.  I think it is the most wonderful game in the world and I despise to lose."  WOODY HAYES

+1 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

The simple answer is next time give the story to someone who can handle it without turning it into a polemic.

Regardless, good luck to Sam and his family

Buckeyeneer's picture

"Kittens and Skittles" sounds like a good band name.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

darbnurb's picture

We may not agree on our stance toward the homosexual lifestyle/agenda, but we can all agree on two things.

1)  There will be a gay football player next year; and

2) _ichigan still sucks.

+4 HS
rdubs's picture

Not sure what a homosexual life style is.  It seems like his lifestyle is throwing around iron and pounding protein shakes.  If that is the homosexual lifestyle, then people must not agree with the lifestyle of half of the boys at my high school.

+1 HS
darbnurb's picture

It seems like his lifestyle is throwing around iron and pounding protein shakes.  If that is the homosexual lifestyle, then people must not agree with the lifestyle of half of the boys at my high school.

 If this is true, then why is this a story?  And how do you know he pounds protein shakes?

warosu's picture

Whatever floats your boat, as long as it don't sink mine!!!

+3 HS
OSU2002Grad's picture

Great for Michael Sam and the gay community! For those who complaining about the attention this is getting, you're on the wrong side of history.

+2 HS