Michael Sam made news earlier this year by becoming the first openly gay NFL football player but only a short time later he was cut from the St. Louis Rams and shortly after that the Dallas Cowboys. Now, GQ magazine is naming him one of its 2014 Men of the Year.
In a long interview with Sam, the men’s magazine led with the player’s famous “kiss” which came when he learned he was being drafted by the NFL. In jubilation Sam turned to kiss his boyfriend live on TV sending the sports world into a tizzy.
Sam’s thus far short NFL career started when he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft. But he didn’t survive the final cut on a team with a stacked defensive front. The Dallas Cowboys then picked him up to join a 10-man practice squad, but that didn’t last long either. Sam is currently a football player without a team but a gay icon still.
But the magazine insists that Sam “never wanted any of this.”
Sam, GQ says, “never envisioned himself as an activist or icon before he came out in February, and doesn’t regard anything he’s said or done in 2014 as heroic.”
“He wants to be a football player who happens to be gay, not ‘Gay Football Player Michael Sam,'” the magazine revealed.
In fact, the magazine says that Sam never even thought he would be a football player at all as his early life was not ideal.
The player even described his own brothers as “evil.”
I still got beat up a lot. We called the cops on my brothers so many times I can’t even count. Not only for hurting me. They’d abuse my sisters. Verbally abuse my mom. Call me that word [“faggot”], although they meant “scared,” “sissy,” not “gay.” Our house was…strangers showing up, coming in. When I was a kid, I had no idea what they were doing. Now I know. My brothers were evil people. I don’t have a relationship with them now. They’ve both written me letters from prison. People tell me I need to forgive. I will learn to forgive them. I will love them from a distance, just like I love my dad from a distance. But I will never have a special relationship with them. What I went through was scary. For them to dare to call themselves my brothers–I can’t live with that.
Sam also told GQ that football was “just something to do, an excuse to not be at home.” But he excelled in it and he eventually came to love the sport.
“Being with the guys on the team at Hitchcock was my real family. Mizzou was my real family. I loved it. Football was a sense of home. A home I never had,” he said.
No doubt this is true. Recently Sam’s father told the media that his son had not been in contact with anyone in the family for some time.
As to his career, even though he doesn’t have a spot on a team, Sam remains optimistic.
“Some people can argue that I had the potential to go higher in the draft,” Sam said. “But I think everything happens for a reason. It looks good to see me in the position I’m in now, because I can show the world how good I am and rise up the ranks. I’m at the bottom now. I can rise up, show I’m a football player. Not anything else. Just a football player.”
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