Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly gay
player, gave a moving speech at the 2014 ESPY Awards, where he was
presented with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
Sam was given a standing ovation as he
made his way to the stage, where he was presented with his award by
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
“This year I have a lot of experience
being part of something bigger than myself,” a tearful Sam said in
accepting his award. “At times, I felt like I was living in a
massive storm, but I'm here to tell you the lessons I learned about
love and respect will never leave me.”
He said of Cammisano, who was seated in
the audience: “Vito, people tell me I'm very inspirational, but
you're my inspiration.”
He ended with a note to LGBT youth.
“I promise to spend the rest of my
life trying to live up to this honor and be the best football player
I can [be],” he said. “To anyone out there, especially young
people, feeling like they don't fit in and will never be accepted,
please know this: Great things can happen when you have the courage
to be yourself.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit
our video library for more videos.)
Sam didn't speak to boyfriend Vito Cammisano for two years.)