DALLAS (CBS St. Louis) — Michael Sam reveals that he is not the only gay player in the NFL.
Speaking at the 2015 Dallas Holocaust Museum Upstander Speaker series, the first openly gay player drafted into the league that other gay NFL players have reached out to him.
“I am not the only gay person in the NFL,” Sam told the audience, 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.”
Sam, who was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams and later was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad before getting cut, was surprised at how it was a “huge deal” for an openly gay player to get drafted.
“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,” Sam explained, according to the Star-Telegram. “Maybe I was naïve. 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.”
Sam said it means a lot to him that other gay NFL players would reach out to express support.
“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. I’m just saying there’s some famous people, and I’m not the only one,” Sam stated, according to the Star-Telegram.
Sam added that he doesn’t believe he’s being discriminated against by NFL teams because of his sexuality.
“Hopefully I’m not being discriminated because I’m gay. I don’t believe that I’m being discriminated because I’m gay,” Sam said. “I just want to know if I’m truly not in the NFL, it’s because of talent. If you look at the film, clearly I can. So, I’ll leave it at that.”
Sam recently participated in the NFL’s veterans combine as he still hopes to latch onto a team for the 2015 season. He told reporters following the combine that he was open to playing in the Canadian Football League.
Sam is currently on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars.”