If even the most conservative statistics are true – that is at least ten percent of the population is gay, then what the first openly gay football player Michael Sam said last week made perfect sense—there currently “a lot” of gay players in the NFL. Why would the national football league be any different than any other part of the population?
Last week, during a speech and during a Q&A in Dallas, Sam said, “I am not the only gay person in the NFL,” according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’m just saying there is a lot of us. I respect the players that did reach out to me and had the courage to tell me that they were also gay, but they do not have the same courage as I do to come out before I even played a down in the NFL.”
The paper goes on to touch on Sam’s admitted “naivete” in coming out in such a hyper masculine environment. The Star-Telegram reports:
“Was it a risky move? Yes. But at that moment, the reason why I came out is I thought it wasn’t going to be a big deal. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I thought it was 2014, and people will understand that there’s gay NFL players. There’s gay athletes everywhere. But I was clearly wrong. It was a huge deal.
“The players who have reached out to me and told me about their sexual orientation, it just means a lot. But I will never say anything about who they are, what teams they are [on]. I’m just saying there’s some famous people, and I’m not the only one.”
Sam, who came out in his senior year in college, is the former SEC co-defensive player of the year at Missouri, and was taken by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 draft but didn’t make the team, reports ESPN. He also had a tryout with the Dallas Cowboys, but never made it to the NFL—obviously not for lack of talent, though some say his combine skills were not up to par.
“I don’t believe that I’m being discriminated [against] because I’m gay. I just want to know if I’m truly not in the NFL, it’s because of talent. Let it be because of my talents. But you’ve got to prove that I can’t play this game. If you look at the film, clearly I can.”
Sam confirmed that he’d take part in the first-ever veteran’s combine on March 22 but also that he will be on the upcoming ‘Dancing with the Stars’ in March as well.