Published April 19, 2016
Former NFL player Michael Sam told Attitude magazine that he didn’t feel accepted by the gay community since coming out in 2014.
“It’s terrible,” Sam said. “People have told me I’m not gay enough; people have told me I’m not black enough. I don’t know what that means. You want to be accepted by other people, but you don’t even accept someone just because of the color of their skin? I just don’t understand that at all.”
He did, however, say that he has always felt accepted by the African-American church.
“I can only go by my experience and the people I’ve been around. I think it’s more accepting actually,” Sam said of the black community. “There are a lot of black, openly gay people. A lot of people have [gay] friends, cousins, brothers, sisters…They have at least one openly gay person, at least it’s more accepting, that’s my experience.”
Sam was the first openly gay man to be drafted by the NFL. He was happy about his decision to come out after he saw the positive impact.
“People kill themselves because they can’t handle that pressure and that stress,” he said. “If by me living my life, I can save someone, I would do it again.”
Sam recently wrote an op-ed for the Columbia Daily Tribute about the new anti-LGBT law being pushed in Missouri. Sam said he considers Missouri “a home” as it was the St. Louis Rams who drafted him at the end of his four year career at the University of Missouri.
The legislature will be on the November ballot and if passed, will protect religious organizations and individuals from being penalized for discriminating against the LGBT community if it is because of religious beliefs.
“As an athlete who grew up in a Christian home, two things were always made clear to me: First, treat every person, every team, every competitor with respect. Second, everyone should have an equal shot and start on an equal playing field,” Sam wrote. “SJR 39 flies in the face of the values of sport and of fair-minded Missourians. In this great state, we all should be treated fairly and equally. Gay or straight, we should all be able to feel welcome and safe, whether we’re at home, at work, at a football game, out to dinner with our families, or, yes, even planning a wedding.”