N.F.L. Prospect Michael Sam Proudly Says What Teammates Knew: He’s Gay

The all-American defensive end at the University of Missouri said he decided to come out publicly now because he sensed that rumors were circulating.

Comments: 213

  1. I will be rooting for Michael Sam, no matter the team that is lucky enough to have him.

  2. In 2014, this is important, why?

  3. Are you serious? Because it is 2014 and gay people are still openly discriminated against in many parts of society--including the NFL.

  4. Did you read the article?

    [[The sports industry has seen relatively little change, with no publicly gay male athletes in the N.F.L., the N.B.A., the N.H.L. or Major League Baseball.]]

    We are talking about money. Will a team risk alienating its fan base by drafting a gay player?

    Obviously, even in 2014, that is the question that will get asked and must get answered.

    To an extent, it's the civil rights question of this generation.

    I think you understand that, but since you asked the question, there's your answer.

  5. I understand your sentiment, but there is a world of difference between "should" and "is." In Nigeria, for example, to be openly gay is to risk imprisonment or death -- yes, execution for being gay. And, at the risk of offending, it is apparently more difficult to be openly gay as a black man.

    It is important because it is news despite the fact that it shouldn't be news. This young man is and will be a role model. His actions on and off the field will help other gays to be more comfortable and secure and successful in a world that still ostracizes them, or worse.

  6. This is incredible news that hopefully causes a ripple effect as more football players come out of the closet and express who they truly are!

  7. Or...maybe it doesn't matter. Liberals love labeling people because then they can be lumped into special interest groups. But, I would bet all that 95% of NFL players care about is whether or not Michael Sam makes them a better football team.

  8. If that was the case CL then I would have expected at least 1/1600th of the NFL to be openly gay already. So far, that hasn't happened.

  9. Honesty is always the best policy but this had to be a very difficult decision. This young man has a lot of courage! A tip of the hat to him.

  10. Interestingly it didn't seem to be a difficult decision! He had incredible support from his teammates and coach, His life was incredibly hard watching three brothers go to jail...yet he pulled himself up and just was himself! It seems that everyone on Mizzou knew about him and it was "So??"

    I like the line how loud he was."You could him hear from another floor he was so loud!" He was loved for being who he was...a hard driving DE where team came first! They went from 2-6 in their first year in their new home the SEC in 2012 then increased to 7-1 in the toughest league in the USA! And won the Cotton Bowl 41-31 against Oklahoma State! His sexual orientation didn't tear this team down...it elevated ti to one of the best in the SEC and the country!

    That says SO much for Michael Sam, the team and coaches. His being gay was simply NOT an issue...perhaps it was the glue that kept this team together. No snarky tweets from his fellow players...just acceptance.

  11. I watched this video and spontaneously said God Bless you and thank you for all of us who care about personal truth. How liberated and honest you must feel right now, scared and resolved at the same time. This is such a bold move. Thank you.

  12. Outstanding!! Congratulations to Michael Sam. May he have a successful football career. And may all the other gay football players coming along behind him have a little easier time because of his courageous leadership.

  13. A brave man. Thank you, sir. May life be good to you.

  14. Good for him. Definitely a great thing for the sport and this is certainly one coming out that deserves the honor of being called "brave", unlike those of people who really have nothing to lose by doing so.

  15. @ Casey L.
    "..unlike those of people who really have nothing to lose by doing so."

    ANYONE who comes out of that closet deserves recognition, a HUGE bravo! I guess you are referring to the athletes who "only came out" after their careers were over. That still took incredible courage...they could have kept the lie going but they didn't.
    The LGTB community is strengthened by anyone who declares "This is who I am! Deal with it!" Their coming out undoubtedly made it easier for Michael...they brought it into the news cycle. Every one of them was strong for what they did!

  16. I wished we lived in a world where people would say "..and?".
    instead, it's a headline.
    Best of luck to this brave young man.

  17. I think we're getting there. That was my reaction when I got the news alert, until I read about the implications.

  18. Okay Dana, it's a headline because the editors of the NY Times decided to make it one. Believe it or not, most Americans, even those who live in "fly over" states, don't really care these days.

  19. This is the same media that in 2008 said America isn't ready for a black president. Don't assume a headline means Americans "need it."

  20. It is beyond pathetic when a dog killer and felons of all sorts are welcome with open arms and a gay player is shunned or given a cold shoulder.

  21. Nobody has shunned him in the NFL and nobody has said he won't be welcomed. You are just buying into some made up narrative, dude. In fact, in that article, the only football people to come in contact with him absolutely welcomed him with open arms and then voted him MVP for his play on the field. You know why? Because nothing on that field mattered except "Touchdown Mizzou" but, please, keep making sweeping comments with no basis in reality.

  22. Who said that Michael Vick is welcomed with open arms?

  23. CL, just this week Joathan Vilma said a gay man would not be welcomed in a locker room. This week.

  24. Mr. Sam, I applaud your honesty and courage. I wish you good luck in your career, and fervently hope that your peers treat you with decency and respect.

  25. some big steps ahead for this man and the NFL alike...will be an interesting litmus test. I wish him well and hope that he can acheive his dreams!

  26. Really, the NYTimes considers this breaking news? I love the sinner, but hate the sin. Hopefully, someone will lead him to God's word.

  27. God's word as it relates to your opinion. There was nothing that involved the word hate where Jesus was concerned. You right wingers will never understand that.

  28. Judge not, that ye be not judged.

  29. I've always found the "love the sinner, hate the sin" dance pretty tough for most human beings. Usually they just hate both.

  30. Good for you Michael Sam. Keep living your truth and speaking your truth and doing what you love. I wish you every happiness and success. Maybe somehow this can change the culture of sexism in the NFL too in a magical way.

  31. "to the potential detriment to his professional career."

    Oh, come on NY Times. This publicity is going to make him the hottest property in the league. NFL teams will be falling all over themselves trying to prove their political correctness. Tim Tebow should take a lesson from this and declare himself gay. The NFL will then have no choice but to take him back into the league.

  32. Just like Jason Collins is a hot property? Not so much.

  33. Don't be ridiculous. Check out how Chris Kluwe was treated. He's not gay, but he vocally opposed a ban on gay marriage and he paid the price.

  34. Jason Collins is seven feet tall and averaged 3.6 points per game in his career. That's fewer than two baskets a game from a guy who stands directly under the rim. And who is seven feet tall.

    Kareem averaged 24.6 points per game.

  35. This is potentially a huge turning point for our culture. When we interviewed high school students for our film, "Straightlaced—How Gender's Got Us All Tied Up" about the pressure on male athletes to present to their peers as heterosexual, we unearthed a mountain of pain and struggle.

    Michael Sam is a brave man. Now we'll see if NFL team officials and the other men on their rosters are equally as brave in rising to the occasion. The number of lives they could impact by focusing on Sam's potential athletic contributions instead of his sexual orientation could exceed the value of any Super Bowl ring.

  36. "This is potentially a huge turning point for our culture. "

    It's largely a non-issue, except in progressive enclaves, where elitist liberals fret over how to best dictate politically correct thought to the masses. It also keeps the victim train of the Democratic Party alive: blacks, women, gays, "the poor"—identity politics all the time.

  37. It's not about the dictation of politically correct thought, William; it's about ensuring non-discriminatory hiring and work-place practices. You have a problem with that?

  38. No matter what happens Michael, always be proud of what you have done. You have become a role model and, thanks to you, more athletes will follow in your bravery. You do realize, don't you, that you are going to be in history books? There are so many events that have happened over the past few years that this 58 year old gay man never, in a million years, thought he would live to see. I haven't even been to Missouri, but your college now has a fan for life.

  39. Good for Michael Sam; I'm sure that took a lot of guts to come out in that macho environment. The point is, one's sexual orientation or gender is irrelevant: you can either throw the ball or not; as a doctor, you can either perform the surgery, or not. You can either be a proficient soldier, pilot, cop, salesperson, business owner, politician, or not. Enough with the selecting "in" or "out" based on sexual orientation or gender. Let's all just be who we are and get on with life and being the best humans we can be for ourselves, and for our community.

  40. Bless you Michael. And may your strength and honesty carry you to a successful professional career, football or not.

  41. It is important to understand that Sam will not be the only gay player in the NFL. About 5% of NFL players are gay just as about 5% of the general population is gay. If you think that is untrue then you are probably wed to mythological stereotypes.

  42. Statistics have shown that it's more like 10% of the general population.
    Kudos to Mr Sam

  43. Of course he won't be the only gay player in the NFL; however, unless someone comes out tomorrow, he'll be the only OPENLY gay player.

  44. Bravo to Mr. Sam for having the courage. Thanks to The Times' for breaking the story. Probably won't be drafted by the Vikings.

  45. This football player has just opened the biggest and widest door for so many other young men who play football, and are still afraid to be themselves. I enjoy football on the couch, but will be absolutely sure to follow the career of Michael Sam like none other. Is there a fan club I can join?

  46. Is it really our business? Really & truly? How is it that this is worth front page news? Sorry, but I fail to see what's so "outstanding" about it.

  47. It's outstanding because coming out could ruin his career, and subject him to violence and ostracism, and yet he still made the disclosure. That's courageous. Outstandingly courageous.

    Mr Sam could so easily get by as all the other closeted players do and soak up all the plaudits you get simply for being as Nature made you, heterosexual. You've no idea how long his road is until you've walked a mile in his shoes.

    Sorry you can't see that. Almost everyone else can.

  48. Sounds like "straight privilege" talking.

  49. Really & truly? Really?

  50. Best of luck to you Michael Sam. I hate football, but I think you're one brave person. No guts, no glory.

  51. The NFL is being forced to protect concussion victims, and it will be forced to accept gays as valued participants. Too bad they have chosen to let the weight of public opinion decide for them. We criticize Putin for Russia's punitive laws against gas and lesbians, yet allow our institutions to wallow in the past. Historical persecution and religious dogma continue to deny some of our citizens their civil liberties. It is important for some of us to feel superior to people we perceive as different. That often changes when we discover that our parents, children and friends will suffer real pain at the hands of narrow minded haters.

  52. When did the NFL ban gays from playing?

  53. Is Chicago that far behind or is that just limp sarcasm? Please (mentally) put the adjective "out" in front of "gays" in the first sentence of the post you're replying to. Obviously, there is no explicit NFL ban on gay players, and, likewise, there are no explicitly gay NFL players. How do you not get this?

  54. Congratulations Michael Sam. I'll be pulling for you on draft day and beyond.

  55. Thank you, Michael. I'm gay, and I haven't mustered enough courage yet to tell my family, but you've reassured me that you don't have to follow the status quo; your sexual orientation doesn't have to define you as a person. I wish you continued success my brother!

  56. "…your sexual orientation doesn't have to define you as a person…"

    Really? I thought that was the central point of this article.

  57. Tyler- Good luck. Though it's true that sexual orientation doesn't have to define you as a person, it's also not something to be swept under the rug.

  58. Tyler, may you find peace and acceptance. Do not let the haters get to you. People will live you for just being Tyler!

  59. I'm torn by these stories. I'm gay, and yet I cringe when I hear about "a 6-foot-2, 260-pound senior" (Thanks NYT for not being condescending, sarcasm) announcing being gay. On one hand, cool, it's a good for gays; on the other hand, aren't we beyond caring one way or the other?? Yet, what really makes me cringe--no, not the anti-gay slurs that will come on message boards, but the patronizing straight progressive "support" that always makes me feel far smaller as a person than any anti-gay bully ever has. Just my take, thanks!

  60. Without straight allies, we would NEVER have seen this day. Never.

  61. Stop making life so difficult. Just celebrate a young man who obviously believes in the good in people enough to take this type of personal risk. He's our future, by which I mean the future of everyone in this country. I can't think of anything more wonderful.

  62. I'm confused. What do you want, then, Mark? I think people are just trying to express their solidarity with Sam, for having the courage to be himself on a grand scale (in the media spotlight).

    I agree that it'd be nice if as a society we were past these stories, but clearly these issues are still difficult to confront in certain subcultures, like professional football. In a similar vein, the height/weight of football players are almost always mentioned in any article in which those athletes appear. I didn't pick up on the condescending overtones you mention.

  63. Brave, amazing, and proof of true strength of character. Way to go, Michael! I'll be rooting for you all the way.

  64. Good on him. Someone always has to go first.

  65. Unfortunately today, gays teens are still 25% more likely to commit suicide than het. teens. Thank You Michael Sam for coming forward.

  66. Michael Sam showed a lot of courage and that is huge. Almost as huge is the way his team reacted.

    We're making huge strides. Finally.


  67. I look forward to the day when the New York Times won't consider such a disclosure so extraordinary as to merit a "Breaking News Alert".

  68. As a matter of course, the second player to do what he did will be less news worthy than the first. The third even less so. Tenth, 100th. You see how it works.

    There are no breaking news alerts about gay WNBA players or gay tennis players.

  69. If he wants to play professional football, I hope he gets to play professional football. His sexuality aside, though, I hope he takes his education and experience from college and skips the NFL and its head trauma issues.

    Whichever way it goes, good on ya, Michael Sam.

  70. Good for him. Barriers continue to crumble and it is a great thing to see.

  71. I thought we were closer to the point that nobody would really care if he's gay.

    All I care about is his performance on the field.

  72. I am straight and it's obvious to me that we have a long way to go. Gays are not treated equally in American society, no matter our personal acceptance. Gays are human and deserve the same rights and respect that all humans deserve. Add Cetaceans to that also.

  73. Michael Sam has my immense respect for further opening the gateway and expanding Sport beyond hetero-norms. Sport can be an elixir for us all. Awesome indeed!

  74. My compliments, and my utmost respect!
    I do hope that those who oppose equality in sports are using their grey braincells, and look not to what he is, but who he is: a great sportsman!

  75. Definite first round pick, NFL!

    The league can use more Michael Sam and less Richie Incognito.

  76. Simply put Michael Sam has the courage to come out , does the NFL have the courage to let a talented football player play? NFL players should stop dragging their knuckles and embrace the world around them.

  77. Michael is one brave man. The bravest there is. Best of luck to you Michael. I hope that you are picked up by our Giants!

  78. Okay, that's nice. Moving on. But, the media will insist on producing this into a larger-than-life thing as usual.

  79. Well, seems that it still is needed to announce the fact that someone is homosexual........ with all the bigotry and the homophobia around!
    The mere fact that people come out for their sexual orientation not being heterosexual shows that many if not most homosexual people are feeling that the rights that heterosexuals consider to be normal are kept from them! Inequality based on sexual orientation is reason for people to not function, to not being able to be happy, and to be harassed, killed and tortured!
    "Moving on" when someone had the courage to make a statement on his or her own sexuality is ignoring the fact that gay people are tortured, killed and excluded from normal things!

  80. It may mean next to nothing for you, but if you could kindly step for just a moment outside your own square, there are millions whose lives will be transformed by this courageous act.

    The first college football star to do so IS big news, not only for him personally, with the huge risk he is taking, but for a world still replete with suicidal LGBT teenagers, and 78 countries where they bash gays as outlaws, imprison us and stone us to death.

    I am perfectly grateful Mr Michael Sam, a fine man if ever there was one.

  81. It's about time.

  82. It's very sad we live in a society where this is an issue for anyone. I am so grateful to have been raised by parents who never judged people by their color, religion, sexual orientation, race, job, or economic status. Thank you Mom and Dad! Rooting for you, Michael!

  83. Thank you for helping to move our culture forward. I applaud your courage and wish you the best. You are a great role model.

  84. michael sam
    all american

  85. Here is a man who wants to be himself and in the homophobic world of the NFL, put his career on the line as a role model for other LGBT youth for decades to come. He deserves the same respect, the same contract and the same endorsement deals of a star player of his caliber. Some day, the real news will be when this revelation is no longer "breaking news" in the New York Times. Some day, scouts and others will stop asking if a very attractive, very athletic, very intelligent young man has a girlfriend or "has been seen" with women. Sadly, we have a long way to go for full equality, but I am pleased to see the progress that has been made in my lifetime.

  86. That takes a considerable amount of courage, given the culture of professional sports and many of its fans. May this be viewed as a pivotable point in how we perceive and accept gays in our sports world. I hope this story, as it unfolds in the coming months and years, has an ending that Mr Sam is happy with.

  87. I bet there are dozens and dozens of other athletes, professional and/or college players, who wish they had the confidence to come out as Michael Sam has. The sooner or the better.

  88. As a graduate of Mizzou, I was pretty happy when the football team made it to the SEC Championship Game; however, I'm downright ecstatic about Michael Sam's announcement tonight. Ultimately, he loves is nobody's business but his own. But as a gay man who spent his undergrad years conflicted and depressed about his sexuality, I'm sure Michael has done something that will benefit many young people for years to come.

    I'm not a religious man but I'm sending good vibes his way and hoping the more ignorant amongst us don't succeed in stealing his joy.

  89. Well done, Michael. You did good.

  90. You sound like an owner praising his dog. Good, Michael, good boy! LOL!

  91. This reply is for Barry: Why are your comments so laced with ugliness? What do they accomplish?

  92. BRAVO!! Well done, Mr. Sam. You're as solid a man off the field, as you are on the field. Don't worry about "loosely lobbed" remarks...it's an unfortunate part of old America - much like the N-word. Being African American has likely put you into similar situations where words have far less value than there astounding/shocking report is intended to deliver. Most persons have come to learn that words passed over the tongue and across the lips are impossible to stuff back into one's mouth. Those who don't or won't are not destined to become a great friend of a great guy like you.

  93. What a courageous move Michael Sam! I'm sure you've just made a HUGE difference in a lot lives of gay people. I applaud you. I have many friends who are gay and several nephews. I see how people treat them and until we all learn to accept people for who they are Gay Rights will suffer and so will people of all kinds.

  94. Good luck, brother. May you have a long career and good love life.

  95. “I just want to own my truth.” Awsome!!
    Congratulations to Michael Sam for having the courage to be his authentic self.

  96. At nearly 61 and gay, this makes me teary-eyed, 'nough said.

  97. Rich! Thanks for putting your picture, real name and home in your comment! With just one comment you made a big difference today for our generation!

    I know So-o-o many Baby Boomers who have hidden who they are their entire lives...Thank you! We boomers need role models and support systems too!

  98. Wishing you a stellar, long, and injury-free career. Give 'em hell, Michael Sam.

  99. Funny--I'm black and when I was in college and would relay stories about racism in class, I would often get the roll of the eye and a polite "get over it" or mostly, "I'm white and I have struggled too". I would always retort with something like, "structural discrimination is the descendant of slavery" and pretty much dismiss any non-black person's lack of empathy to my experience as ignorance. But now I am older and reading these "coming out" articles has forced me to have broader outlook on "struggle". For example, I find my gut reaction is...so what, you're gay. Why is this a story about your identity? GET OVER IT, ALREADY. IT'S NOT THAT DEEP. And I'm horrified that I feel this way because, of course, that's probably how a lot of white feel towards racial minorities. Now, don't get me wrong---it's not that I don't believe homophobia or racism exists. But, now that I am, in some ways, an outsider looking in, I do get how identity politics can alienate others and even make the minority group seem narcissistic.

  100. You seem seriously conflicted. You're "horrified" that you feel this way, but at the same time you're trying to justify that you feel this way. You say, "...so what, you're gay. Why is this a story about your identity?" The answer is that our homophbic (and racist) society makes it a story about his identity. People are discriminated against, oppressed, & even killed for being gay (or black). That seems pretty deep to me. Furthermore, surely this answer does not come as news to you. So what, exactly, is your point?

    Let me ask you this: when you were in college, did you have to reveal your racial identity to your classmates, or did everyone already assume that you were black? What if people had assumed that you were white? Would you have been motivated to "come out"? You may be older, but your outlook on "struggle" may not have broadened as much as you think.

  101. Great post.

    We all want a little advantage, even though it masquerades as justice.

  102. The amount of acceptable discrimination, hatred, and violence against gays and lesbians FAR outweighs the positives. Like racism, we have a LOOOOOOOOOOOONG way to go yet.

  103. When I was a junior at University of Michigan in January 1985, some of the guys on my coed hall had a "No Fags" party, complete with signs plastered all over campus with a red slash over two men having sex. I sat in my room, ashamed that I was too chicken to do anything about it. I came out of the closet the next week. Times have certainly changed for the better.

  104. Michael remember this is just a part of the whole that you are. Congrats to you.

  105. I work at a high school in a very rural conservative part of the state. This kind of stuff isn't an issue for kids. Within ten years, this won't be an issue at all. The future is already here, and you can run or hide from it, but you can't stop it.

  106. "The future is already here, and you can run or hide from it, but you can't stop it." Stopping what? Wrong is always wrong. No joy in celebrating wrong. Difference, yes. Wrong, no.

  107. Too often hatred originates from some religious sects who unfortunately do not understand that America is secular in fairness to all by favoring no one religion or sect. Separation of church and state exists so neither can corrupt the other.

    Our Declaration of Independence clearly states all Americans are created equal with unalienable rights. An important right one against against discrimination of individuals whether it based on race, gender, creed, sexual orientation, religion, cultural persuasion or any subcategory is what makes this country great. Everyone is entitled to liberty and the pursuit of happiness as long as it does not infringe on the rights of others.

  108. I was talking to a gay friend a few weeks ago and we had a good laugh about how we went to a Jesuit university back int he '70's and there was a cross dresser walking the halls of the dorm, where no one batted an eyelash and an openly gay couple living in the room across from him. A Jesuit university! We knew they were a gay couple and didn't think much of it. What makes us laugh is that all of a sudden, this gay stuff is news...it's ridiculous. There was a popular TV sitcom where one of the characters played by Billy Chrystal was openly gay--1977--again, this is so called news is nuts. It was not an issue then or now. Please wake up to this.

  109. Any NFL scout/organization has to realize at this point, that Mr. Sam is already one of the mentally and emotionally strongest persons they could ever have on their team. He's already proved he has the physical talents. You don't win Defensive Player of the Year in the SEC if you're not "The Man" already.

    It's well past time. The law of averages confirms what society already knows. There are gay male athletes on our professional sports teams and they should not have to hide in the shadows. Just like our soldiers who are gay and go to fight our wars side by side with their straight counterparts, gay professional athletes make all the same sacrifices, train just as hard and perform just as well as their teammates. And they do so with more personal stress then their teammates. And I played the sport from the age of 10 until my late 20's, so I know a little bit about what I'm talking about. What you're embarking upon will not be easy. But something tells me you are strong enough to make it through .

    Bravo Mr. Sam and best of luck. Me, my wife and daughter will be routing for you... Unless you end up playing for the Dallas Cowboys. I hate the Dallas Cowboys...

  110. I'll add to my previous comment ...

    I can't wait for this to be ho-hum, rather than "breaking news."

  111. For most people it is, why would you assume otherwise? The media is hardly the litmus test for what people are concerned over, especially not the NYT--the paper of choice for leftists. BTW, I'm gay.

  112. Barry... read the news out of Nigeria lately?

  113. Brave kid. I wish him the best of luck. I wish it wasn't news.

  114. Another set of congratulations and a real thank you. It is one thing to have political action and another thing to have an issue humanized by a real story of a real person.
    I can't know for sure, but it must require real courage even if it is liberating at the same time.
    You are a person first and foremost and that is a beautiful thing...

  115. You want to be a great person with great character. I never heard of you before, but I'd say you're off to a good start. Best of luck, brother.

  116. Good for Micheal, no one should be afraid or ashamed of who they are. You like what you like and that's all there is to it, to each there own. Live and let live, life is too short to be mean .

  117. More power to Michael Sam. My dad played pro football when it was $75 per game and fans sat on wooden benches. I was taken to the locker room at Yankee Stadium when that field hosted NFL ball years ago. The locker room scene was undeniably macho, but I sensed latent stuff all over the place. The same in Wall Street. This football player is a man's man, and he happens to be interested in men. So what? I am not sure he's all that different. He simply recognizes his feelings - and I would not be surprised if others will do the same. Nor would I be shocked if some of them elect women after experimentation. What difference does it make?

    Courage, Michael Sam. You are in good company. I do not envy you your career path, and I hope you have he good fortune to become a wonderful father. Kids need honest fathers.

  118. Thank you, Michael Sam.

  119. Kudos to Mr. Sam for his courage. Perhaps he will inspire others in the NFL to judge a person based on performance rather than sexual orientation. That being said, it sure will be nice when one day we do not care about a person's sexual preferences.

  120. Mr. Sam's announcement and interview before the NFL draft is a landmark in American sport. He plays the most macho of all sports--football--that requires strength, agility, speed, size, and power--all attributes that challenge the collective ideal of intra-gender men in the broad society.

    More important, in a reverse of Duck Dynasty patriarch's explicit spree, Mr. Sam is challenging the demeaning language of same sex encounters by sharing his inner truth and revealing a strength of character stronger than the physical prowess to tackle or push aside blockers.

    Which NFL team will match its team strength with vision, and look beyond his orientation to see a young man of tremendous integrity who quietly heard the back room whispers and decided to tackle them with the strength of his heart?

    I would want him on my team. The strength he has shown is true leadership. Others may try to sully it, Homophobic rants and slurs, jokes and insults will be generated and he will be blamed for revealing the bias of others and disturbing the game.

    But as we say in the South: the hit dog howls. Sure, there will be cheap shots. Those smug in their prejudice, used to intimidating others to deny themselves have just been hit for a loss. And it is Mr. Sam's, football, the NFL, and American's gain.

    An All-American, Conference Player of the Year and team's Most Valuable Player should shine on the field, playing the game he loves, knowing it doesn't matter to us who he loves.

  121. I could not have said it any better. I always enjoy reading your comments!

    I would certainly take this man on my team. I see a team with a history of stability taking him -- the Giants, Ravens, Steelers, Packers, Niners, or maybe the Seahawks with an open-minded fanbase.

    This young man is a role model and would be a good addition to any team.

  122. I hope the Seahawks draft him or trade for him. Seahawks are the new face of the NFL. Broncos are what a lot of fans are used to. They are both great teams. I only know a few gay people and never thought they were any different than anyone else. Mr. Sam is going to have a tough go but then maybe not....... I live in the most liberal town in Montana and if a UofM Grizzly football player came out in public he'd probably be hung.

  123. Good for him. That such a thing has to be such big news. What should matter is whether he can play football well enough for the teams that want football players.

    I'm pretty sure the guys on the field aren't too worried about whether their teammates or their opposition are straight or gay--they're there to play football, not figure out orientation.

    It is enough that he is there, playing the game he loves, and doing as good as he can. It is enough that he is a human being who is doing the right thing, who knows who he is, and who "owns his own truth."

    Well done, sir.

  124. Congratulations Mr. Sam! You have chosen a tough road to go down. It took real courage to come out before the draft, given the neolithic attitude prevalent in major league sports, especially the NFL.

  125. For those of you commenting the bravery it took him to come out considering the "homophobic culture" of sports, if you read the article it mentions that Mr. Sam has been out to his team since last year. He's only telling YOU now. Obviously, his teammates didn't care much and certainly didn't go on a public anti-gay tirade. Americans simply are not as intolerant as the Times readers would like them to be.

  126. May I suggest you tap into some of the homophobia coming out of the NFL and the brave people fighting it and you will see there is not exactly tolerance... yet.

  127. Even as kids continue slitting their wrists, jumping from bridges and are subjected to brutal beatings around the sophisticated streets of Gotham, people still wonder if Americans in a homophobic culture? Oh yes we are! Of course, my fellow openly gay brothers & sisters in Nigeria, Russia, Egypt, any et al fare far worse than many LGBTQ here in the US, it would be "awesome" if America took a firmer hold and a more active role in navigating the moral compass of the world.

  128. Good for Michael Sam, good for his team, good for his coaches, good for the NFL. And may it help us get a bit closer to the place where something like this isn't news any longer.

  129. As a gay man in education. I feel for Mr. Sam. Amazingly enough I was raised in Freeport, near where Mr. Sam was raised and I know too well the sting of homophobia in a small Texas town. I am proud of this fellow Texan and hope he shines in his career and leads others to the light of understanding.

  130. This ought to go down well in the black community. And be sure to let us know how he gets on in the NFL.

  131. While the first out college player was this year's Conner Mertens (well, depending on timing, since Sam came out pre-season last year), this could really break the barrier. Just look at Conner's twitter @connermetens to see how excited he is.

  132. What a courageous young man! I am impressed that his teammates did not leak this information. That says a lot about the team and the coaches. His teammates' reaction and support probably went a long way in giving him the confidence and courage to go public with this.

    I'll be rooting for him.

  133. Now if only some leading lights in professional football (other than the wonderful Chris Kluwe) speak out and support Mr. Sam's in coming out. Calling you Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and the like.

  134. Thank you, Mr. Sam. I hope that the NFL realizes that the homophobic among their supporters are no longer in the majority. That they have the courage to reward both skill and strength of character. That, in doing so, they have the potential to have a positive impact on the world around them.

  135. Thank you Mr. Sam for sharing your personal story. It is my fervent hope that LGBT young people not protected by family, friends, and your talent are recipients of the movement forward your first step has promoted.

    May life show you happiness and success not because you're gay, not because you're black, and not because you're a football player, but because you are my human brother. You have bravely taken a step that hopefully advances us as a society.

  136. Proud to see he's from mizzou. You were great to watch in college, now go have a great pro career as well! MIZ!

  137. I get that gay people dont want to hide. But he will never be known as a football player, he will now always be the "gay football player" the media will never let that drop.

  138. He's not the first gay football player to come out. That was news in the '60s, with Copay. Why it is anyone else's business is what puzzles me.

  139. Like Jackie Robinson is only known as the "black baseball player"?

  140. Kopay came out after he retired. Since then every other gay man in the NFL has stayed in the closet while he played, and most stayed there afterward too, (and who can blame them). That's why this is an important story now. If you got that, that would be a step toward making being gay irrelevant and of no interest to anyone. But folks like you apparently don't, yet, so it is.

  141. Sending you support and best wishes for a long, successful career and a great life. You are making a difference to many young people out there.

  142. Right on,Brother; However this plays out,you will NEVER regret being the man you are. I wish all the best for you.

  143. Fans need to let the NFL know very clearly that mistreatment of this young man is not acceptable.

  144. Yeah....in the grand scheme of things, it's really not a big deal, and you're really not that important - get over yourself.

  145. It's not about him, it's about the message it sends to other people, and to gay children who don't know any role models that are gay where they live. If you don't get why it's important, try putting yourself into the mindset of a kid like that, you might just learn something about yourself.

  146. It's about not complying with the demands to hide -- you know the old saying, "the love that dare not speak its name"? How does anyone not get this? I guess reactions like yours are just more examples of what waits for those who do dare, i.e., shaming, name-calling (like "narcissist," in some other posts), and demands to shut up. (There are among the relatively mild reactions of course, because this is a just a comment thread, and a moderated one.) I think you and anyone expressing these sentiments need either a refresher course, or perhaps some remedial work, on the golden rule.

  147. @Sean in AZ, yeah, he should get over it because "it's really not big deal." Like the people who complained about the white fraternity men at Arizona State University celebrating Martin Luther King Day by throwing a party filled with racial stereotypes said, "it's really not a big deal" -- not in Arizona anyway, as I see every day when I encounter people like them and people like you in this state.

  148. Good for you, young man. Personally, I wouldn't work for an employer who is anti-gay and what you have done will ensure you don't play for homophobic team leadership. You have integrity which so many pro-athletes seem to lack.
    Now, if the NFL has a policy prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, why are scouts inquiring about player's romantic life? I am suspect about the NFL's true stance.

  149. I'm not Bill Clarke, just using his account:
    Although in 2014 I am lucky enough to live in the United States and in New York State where I can marry my partner of 32 years; we read in this same newspaper that 75 nations still treat gay people as hated criminals with whipping, and harsh prison sentences.
    Thank you Michael Sam for your powerful strike against the thick wall of ignorance. You have instantly become an inspiration to tens of thousands of people all over the world -- many of whom have been forced into hiding.
    When people are being whipped, and imprisoned for holding hands, for loving truthfully; we must ALL "come out", as gay people AND as straight allies. We must all help our neighbors in countries where gay people are being scapegoated and thrown under the bus for short sighted political gain.

  150. This "revelation" will likely be welcomed at the Univ. of Missouri, where it will surely distract attention from the football program rape scandal involving the Mizzou swimmer who committed suicide in 2011. Attention will be paid the narcissist; attention will be withdrawn from his dubious teammates/predecessors; win-win.

  151. There's no scandal there. There are HIPPAA laws against divulging medical records for which the fines can be up to $250,000 per instance, so it's pretty reasonable that the healthcare worker whom Ms Menu Corey shared this information decided not to break the law.

  152. Courage, nobility of character, and wisdom of purpose come in all colors.

    You continue the long line of brave men who will eventually bring us full equal rights in American society.

    --a gay American

  153. I have a feeling that's why he played so much better this past season. The pressure was off, at least with his teammates. Yes, the haters are gonna hate and hopefully one day they'll be enlightened. MIZ! No. 52 Michael Sam ... #MizzouMade

  154. Congratulation Mr. Michael Sam for standing proud! I too will be rooting for you on draft day and beyond.

  155. Good for him. Brave to do it, too. But the New York Times has bias against 'male' sports, football and fighting in particular. They are referred to derogatorily as 'macho'. I think the NYT and all the naysayers will be pleasantly surprised at how smooth the process of openly integrating gay players. And count meas new member of the Sam Fan Club.

  156. Shhh... your comment doesn't fit the narrative of an intolerant, oppressive America.

  157. One could examine every word he says, or every word said about him. You could look at his upbringing. You could evaluate is schooling. You could interrogate his parents. You could analyze his backround.

    Or, you could look at the intelligence etched in every line of his face. You could gaze into his eyes and see an understanding and a compassion well beyond his years. You could look at the unassuming way he holds a body which will be both his livelihood and for his opponents, a barrier. You could also look at that body, and that brain, and those eyes, and then you could think, as did I, "what a lucky, lucky man will someday partner with an individual of this caliber".

  158. A fine-looking man indeed.

    (Rats! ;-)

  159. My wife and I are proud to be Mizzou alums tonight -- and proud that our daughter is enrolled there. That the team was supportive after Michael Sam came out to them in August says volumes about the current climate of tolerance in Columbia, Missouri and the nation.

    Let's go Mizzou!

  160. What an inspiration! His tremendous courage, tenacity, spirit, and self-assurance (not to mention his skill as an athlete) all are incredibly admirable traits. I wish him only the best in his career!

  161. What a role model for kids and families in the world. Do what ever it takes to be accepted, even if others are uncomfortable with it. Now, if he is cut it will be because he is gay, not that he wasn't good enough and he can get a bundle.

  162. Not to diminish Jason Collins' revelation, but this is a much more courageous announcement. Colins was at the end of his pro career, Sam's has yet to begin.

  163. OK, who has the first draft pick this year? Who wants to be on the right side of history?

  164. As much as I like the sentiment, realistically he's not going to go that high. The first five teams (Houston, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Oakland) have much more pressing problems. Atlanta (at #6) might be the first one who could actually use him. However, the draft is all about who a team likes and are very specific to what that team thinks they need. It's not like, say, the NBA where the players might move around one or two spots because the best players positions need basically the same skills. In the NFL, a player who gets passed over for another need by one team might not run into the next team that could fill their need with him for half a round.

    Listen to projections for him that focus on rounds and team needs more than position. It will be more accurate and less likely to get you upset for no real reason.

  165. History shows that draft picks should be made on the basis of talent. It's hard not to be objective in sports, which irritates liberals.

  166. Are you suggesting affirmative action due to his sexuality, Debra? Or should he be judged based on his merit as a football player, regardless of his sexuality?

  167. Michael: Thank you. When there is so much terrifying anti-gay sentiment emanating from Russia, Nigeria, and unfortunately, here in the United States, your courage and honesty is positive and good especially for young gay people who tragically have to struggle with a decision as to whether to tell their, friends, family, teammates, and colleagues who they are without fear of repercussions. You are a hero and I will be rooting for you every step of the way. Good luck in the combine , the draft, end the NFL! You made this football mom's day!

  168. Unfortunately it's more than just Nigeria and Russia. It's most of the world. The United States will have to be a leader on this-- but of course we have a long way to go ourselves.

  169. Hallelujah! Maybe now we can stop stoning people who speak ill of their mothers. Oh, wait, we don't do that because his critics are hypocrites.

  170. Excellent! Brilliant!
    Really, who gives a (darn) where, when, or how Mr. Sam conducts his personal life? Since the NFL is really about money, the ONLY question to ask is, "Can he help our team to win". Good for him, and us.

  171. The truth (as I see it anyway) is that most people don't care about a person's sexual proclivities UNLESS they want to rub your face in it a la the "gay pride" parades in California. Yes, even those awful "conservatives" (sorry for the profanity) feel this way for the most part.

  172. so why are my rights as a normal person being trampled on by these Heterophobic people? The pro-gay lobby is intolerant towards the rights of normal heterosexual people. This bigotry towards heterosexuals has to stop!

  173. ah, isn't that the point though? we heterosexuals get to rub our sexuality in your face every day of the year (if we're doing it right :) and yet gay pride once a year on the coast hundreds of miles away from you is too much to handle?!?!

    we KNOW everyone feels "this way," aka "sweep it under the rug", but isn't that exactly the problem? it's like saying to the blacks during civil rights, yes, we know you're not allowed to drink from our water fountains or vote, but believe us or not, we feel just as uncomfortable about it as you do! you know, "for the most part."

    how condescending. nobody should have to hide who they are just to make YOU feel more comfortable. why are you uncomfortable with it, anyway? does it bring out some deep-seated feelings about your own sexuality you'd rather not address?!?! being a heterosexual who's, yes, attended the pride parade on several occasions, i can't help but wonder why you, all the way over in TX, could be offended... it's a heckofa party ;)

  174. Amazing -

    Are the people here who are jumping up and down with glee, as they applaud Michael Sam's "courageous" decision to declare his sexual orientation the same ones who scream bloody hell regarding the billions of dollars in big business of collegiate football and the NFL ?

    And, of course - then there's that nasty little business about all those concussions and brain trauma...

    And please do not tell me one thing has nothing to do with the other because, as we all know, while Mr. Sam may be the first professional football player to openly announce his homosexuality - he is most certainly not the first gay pro football player -- and how many of them are now suffering the long-term effects of the injuries sustained during their playing days.

    Yes, Michael Sam deserves a lot of credit for breaking an important barrier -- but it needs to be viewed in context...

  175. There's one in every crowd.

  176. OK, you have a point. It's true that the sport of football is a form of assault and battery that normally is only allowed in actual warfare, and the NFL and NCAA are poster children for the intrinsically corrupt and exploitive nature of corporate capitalism and state politics. Other NFL players, as the article says, have in fact come out publicly, but not until they were done playing. So Michael Sam gets credit for courageously working to open the doors of wealth AND delusional self-destruction to openly gay football players. Do I understand you correctly?

  177. Yes, it does have to be viewed in context, and the context is equal rights for all. I abhor the culture of football more than anyone I know, but I'll be darned if I'll tolerate a society that prohibits gays from participating.

    Your comment reminds me of what we Jews used to occasionally say when talking about our desire for a country of our own: We want to be like all other nations: we want to have the problems of juvenile delinquency, urban crime, prostitution, like all other nations. We just want to be like everybody else: No better, no worse.

    I can hate football, disapprove of its ethos, but defend the rights of all to participate, should they so choose. I'm actually not a big fan of marriage, either, but it should be open for all.

  178. As a Mizzou grad ('94) and gay football fan, I'll just say: You GO, Tiger!

  179. More power to you, sir. Tackle all obstacles accordingly. And that goes for on the field as well as in life.

  180. I predict his 2014 NFL jersey will be among the top sellers immediately.

    In fact, it will be so popular that resellers on eBay will be charging a premium.

  181. I hope the Bears draft him!

  182. Believe in who you are today as you never know what path leads you for tomorrow. It is not what Michael Sam said its what Michael Sam did. I believe there will be a lot of finger pointing but with out the giggles and the laughter it will be only about the strength and bravery of one mans decision to be honest with out fear.

  183. Good for you Mr Sam! There, you said it, standing proud of who you are. Add that to the list with brave, highly ethical, strong, talented....

  184. Mr. Sam, you have more courage and honestly than the vast majority of people. Thank you for being a role model for others. I admire you.

  185. The vast majority?

  186. Yes, Marco. Vast majority. By far.

  187. Michael Sams put his money where his mouth is. Aside from the gutsy move of coming out before entering pro sports (as opposed to Jason Collins, who knew his playing days were coming to a close), Sams has most likely cost himself millions of dollars. A projected third round choice or better? Doubtful now. I hope I'm wrong, but he will probably now be selected in the later rounds, as teams on the fence pass him up to avoid unnecessary drama with the Neanderthals on their squads. Sams knows that, and did it anyway. More power to him.


  188. How can you say that Mr Sam's stock will drop because he came out? In reality, the bigger threat to his status is not how his coaches or teammates will react, but if the press will make him such a big story that it will become a distraction to his team.
    The best way to support Mr Sam is to be there if something bad happens, and to stay away if nothing does.

  189. I applaud his courage and forthrightness, and wish him the very best. I also hope he signs with a team that will support him and his fellow players as the season unfolds. That will be crucial. But congratulations and all best wishes to this brave young man!

  190. Bravo for Michael Sam.

    Of all the professional sports to have an openly gay player, I always thought the NFL would be last. It has such a macho culture.

    Times they are a'changin'.

  191. Amen. Good for him. Let it become ordinary and unremarkable. That is the ultimate victory.

  192. Well, it can only become ordinary and unremarkable when newspapers like the NY Times quick deciding to make it headline news.

  193. The article says "As the pace of the gay rights movement has accelerated drastically in recent years,"
    I don't know but 'drastically' seems more judgmental than if the word 'dramatically' had been used. Guess I'm just overly-dramatic.
    Mr. Sam brought tears to my eyes.

  194. I wonder how quick to praise some of you might be if you learned he's a Log Cabin Republican. So much for the outpouring of love, huh.....

  195. and the odds of that being ...under 1%.

  196. You really can't figure out the difference between a freshman MAYBE at an obscure college and an imminent N.F.L. player? Really?

  197. This is as stupid as a heterosexual man declaring they love women. Why is it if he is gay that people applaud this and feel this has something to do with sports? It's irrelevant. It's self-serving, and it's narcissistic.

    Imagine a heterosexual contacting the media to announce his sexual preference. I dont care either way, but it's your choice and not part of your career.

  198. I pray that some day this sort of thing will be as unremarkable as a heterosexual man declaring his love for women, but today - 2014 - it is in fact a landmark moment. People - most people - applaud Mr. Sam's courage.

    Also, being gay isn't a choice. You should also check the definitions of self-serving and narcissistic - Mr. Sam's actions are neither.

  199. As my Mother used to remind me: "There are people starving in the world."

    It is a sign of the country's decadence that sexuality has become front--page news.

    We are narcissists. We don't need any other idols.

  200. Actually, it's brave and reflects maturity and leadership. That's so obvious one wonders how anyone who actually read the article could miss it. It's like you're saying Jackie Robinson's (or Hank Aaron's or Bob Gibson's) color was not part of his career. And oh yes, it's not a "choice." The only real choice is to hide, or not. Please get a clue and show some respect for others.

  201. Thank you, Michael Sam. So proud to be a Mizzou Tiger right now. Hoping you get picked up by the 49ers (and Chris Culliver is sent packing). MIZZOU-RAH!

  202. There's going to be a net benefit to the NFL team that's smart enough to draft Michael Sam if he fits their needs at his position. People who are stuck in the past will complain, and lean on their hateful prejudices, but a lot of goodwill and respect for the team that drafts him will flow from the rest of society that considers itself truly committed to civil liberties and fairness. There will always be those who don't accept that the story of 21st Century America is about equality, and breaking down the ignorant social barriers of the past. There are always those in a society who will resist social justice and progress until they are diminished or gone, and no longer able to impede our progress towards a more perfect Union. We will overcome them.

  203. Michael Sam coming out only makes him a hero to the gay community. Hardly the little yeast that makes the bread rise. Let's not make this more than it is. Hopefully his personal choice to come out does overshadow his talent on the gridiron.

  204. I just want to add my voice to wishing Michael Sam the best of luck. His story made my day. On top of everything else, his statement may have saved a few lives. You know how many young football players struggle with shame over this identity? How amazing to have such a talent assuring them that they are not alone--indeed, that they too can "own" their truth. And kudos to all the people who raised Mr. Sam to have such a strong sense of self.

  205. Just because the New York Times and other media outlets deem this a headline story doesn't mean that it is. I know some of you feed off the victimhood narrative but the average American doesn't care about one's sexuality one way or the other, not any more, even those "evil" Republicans. Yes, it's true, he'd have a harder time playing soccer openly gay in your precious "tolerant" Europe than he will in the NFL inside the belly of the beast itself. Sam's teammates certainly didn't care (those evil American boys!), and they knew about his being gay and still they voted him MVP. I can't help but wonder what some of you gushing over him might say if it turns out Sam is no fan of Obama and voted for Romney, many gay people have you know. Hand raise.

  206. Dude, what's your problem? This really is not about you and / or your politics. You need not have disclosed your sexual orientation and that you voted for Romney.

  207. You are a troubled person.

  208. I will reserve the phone booth at the corner of 25th street and University Ave in Des Moines.

    You can hold the convention of Gays Who Voted for Romney there.

  209. I immediately was drawn to a comparison of the situation with the Olympics and Mr.Putin regarding issues of gay equality and acceptance.
    I’m sure the NFL with “say” the right things….but will they “do” the right things….we’ll have to wait and see.
    It would be shameful if we can’t take the high ground without having to debate the issue, or find evidence of discrimination.

  210. I wish him well, but I wonder if the NFL will even touch him. They are a homophobic bunch.