Sam Meets The Press And Wins

From Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis

“I wish you guys would just say, ‘Michael Sam, how’s football going? How’s training going?’ I would love for you to ask me that question. But it is what it is. I just wish you guys would just see me as Michael Sam the football player instead of Michael Sam the gay football player.”

The University of Missouri product guaranteed earlier this month that it’s unlikely he will ever be known as just a football player. Sam has not even been drafted into the NFL, but he’s already been declared the league’s first openly gay player.

That’s where a lot of the questioning landed Saturday afternoon at the NFL Combine when he met the media. The turnout was huge, bigger than any previous outings in the club area used by the league to house the media and players, coaches and general managers arriving for interviews.

Sam handled it all with aplomb, using humor and direct answers to tell those assembled about his football career at Mizzou, his hopes for the NFL and his decision to announce his sexual orientation.

“Good afternoon, my name is Michael Sam and I play football for the University of Missouri,” is how Sam introduced himself to the media horde. “As you may know, Missouri is the Show Me state and you’d think I’d have shown you guys enough these last couple of weeks. But I’m learning with you guys still want more so ask your questions and I’ll answer them to the best I can.”

From that point on, Sam was in control of the session and answered all the questions thrown at him:

On the overall reception: “Great. I mean, the positive outweighs the negative. I’m kind of surprised, actually. But there’s a lot of supporters, a lot of people want this. There’s just a lot of support out there.”

Whether he had doubts on how he would be received: “I didn’t have doubts. I just wanted to get my story out before anyone else said or (told) it and then I’m going to continue on with my life and try to prepare myself for the NFL.

How will he handle hostility in the locker room if it comes up: If someone wants to call me a name I’ll have a conversation with that guy and hopefully it won’t lead to anything else.

Will his announcement affect his draft status: I am not a G.M. I do not have control over my draft status. All I can control is me preparing myself to get the best scores out there.

Did he feel like a trailblazer? A trailblazer? I feel like I’m Michael Sam.

Touching moments where the public has reacted to him since the announcement: Everything that my Mizzou family has done for me has been amazing. I walk around campus and dozens of students and faculty give me hugs or kiss, starting crying in my arms. It’s unbelievable. I love Mizzou, it’s great.

Is it possible for him to concentrate on football after his announcement: Well, since I’m not on an NFL active roster, that’s my only thought, to be on that roster. That’s my 100 percent focus on this. I’m not focusing on anything else but to earn my spot on an NFL team.

What did he want NFL people to know about Michael Sam: That Michael Sam’s work ethic is just like or better than the guys here.

8 Responses to “Sam Meets The Press And Wins”

  • February 22, 2014  - cychief24 says:

    If Micheal Sam can sack the QB and wrap up RB’s….. I couldn’t care less what he does off the field.
    Live and let live…..

  • February 23, 2014  - johnfromfairfax says:

    I agree cy. let the man play football.

  • February 23, 2014  - el cid says:

    At some point in time he will have to live up to his press. I suspect that will be the fly in the ointment. Any team that gets him…..can they cut him if he is not good enough or with the current attitude toward gays force them to carry him no matter what.

  • February 23, 2014  - Ernie Barney says:

    I agree with the previous comments. I also believe Sam knew he would receive a lot of questions so why is he somewhat surprised? It’s the agenda. Have to say I am really tired of all the hype surrounding anyone’s orientation and big “announcements”. Who cares. Oh yes, it’s PC and trendy. Hopefully we can get past this “issue” and in a few years this is not even brought up. Move on media, nothing to see here. Not my lifestyle choice but I didn’t make any big announcements. Not that anyone asked anyhow. Just once I would like to see someone stand up in a presser and say: “Yep, I am fond of the opposite sex.” Not PC but I would find that kind of funny in today’s world! Let’s get “Back to Football” please.

  • February 23, 2014  - el cid says:

    Ernie, Hollywood types have been gay long before it was fashionable to be one much less come out of the closet. Just last week female from movie Juno, “had” to come out. That is over 60 years of gays “having” to tell the world and, of course, the rest of us admiring their courage and loving them for it. So be prepared for more.

  • February 24, 2014  - Bryon Day says:

    People shouldn’t have to lie about who they are if they aren’t hurting anyone else in the process. This should hold true in the workplace and well as in one’s personal life. This is especially true when being truthful is at the risk of some sort of ignorant harassment or cretinistic ridicule (my opinion). The suggestion by Ernie Barney above is, I believe (could be mistaken), that Sam is grandstanding. I would suggest that he’s just unwilling – as he was last year by telling his teammates he is gay – to play the victim anymore. So my take is that there’s nothing wrong with the guy being up front. Everyone else needs to get over it. That’s not Sam’s issue.

  • February 24, 2014  - el cid says:

    “play the victim game”, how PC.

    If he can play, the Chief should consider him. If not, just another college player who did not make it. That is equality.

  • February 25, 2014  - Bryon Day says:

    What does ‘”play the victim game,” how PC’ mean? Sam’s behavior has nothing to do with this. It’s the opposite. And I suspect that most NFL players couldn’t care less. Some are offended. And to the extent that they make some sort of fuss, they are the ones playing the victim.

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