Michael Sam, the first openly gay
player to be drafted by the NFL, says that he does not believe coming
out has kept him out of the NFL.
In an op-ed published Wednesday, Sam
reflected on the one year anniversary of his coming out.
“Over the past 12 months I've been
called by some a distraction, by others a hero, but I'm still working
to earn the label that matters to me most: football player,” Sam
The 25-year-old Sam, the SEC defensive
player of the year in 2013, was cut by the St. Louis Rams before the
start of the season. He then joined the Cowboys' 10-man practice
squad, where he stayed for seven weeks before being let go. He's now
a free agent.
“Deciding to publicly come out is a
major moment in every gay person's life, and nobody wants to be
outed. So the reason I came out in the public way I did, in a
nationally televised interview, was to ensure that I would again have
a chance to tell my story on my own terms.”
“I don't believe that being gay has
kept me off an NFL roster,” he added. “But I will challenge
anyone who says I don't have the talent to make it in the league, and
I will continue to push myself every single day and do whatever it
takes until I can earn another roster spot.”
Sam: I knew I was gay after first time.)