In an interview with New York Times, SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam made his message very clear:

I’m Michael Sam. I’m a football player and I’m gay.

I came out to my team this last August. Coming out to them, they rallied around me. They supported me. I was kind of nervous, I was actually doing it. Seeing how everyone’s reaction was, was so awesome. I was like, ‘There are my teammates. These are my brothers. I can play for these guys.’

Sam was first team unanimous All-American and had over 10 sacks last season. It's not just any football player coming out, it's a dang good one:

[I'm] just showing that an openly gay player on the team can have that much success with his teammates, there’s a lot of opportunity for everyone.

I’m coming out because I want to own my truth. Two weeks ago at the Senior Bowl, I didn’t realize how many people actually knew about my sexual orientation. I just wanted to own my truth before anyone breaks a story about me.

Is this a huge deal? I understand that it is but my purpose and focus right now is playing football. I don’t think I should be defined as ‘Michael same the gay athlete, gay football player’. I want to be defined for Michael Sam as being a great person and having great character.

I might be the first but I won’t be the last. I think only good things are going to come from this.

Getty Images
Getty Images

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