First openly gay NFL player Michael Sam recently spoke at UAlbany earlier this month to share his difficulties and experiences ax being the first openly gay football player in the NFL. Not only did he discuss the hardships of his home life, but he also got into how his lifestyle directly impacted his career goals and how it made him feel in a stereotypically “masculine” environment like the athletic industry. Sam believes that the discomfort surrounding his homosexuality is what ultimately ended his career, and he wanted to share his story so that someone else might be able to learn from his past and approach it in a different way. The former football player stated that the whole time he strategy was to try to fit in and feel like he belonged, when all he had to do was speak from the heart.
The Hitchcock, Texas native attended Hitchcock High School where he played both defensive and offensive positives on the football team. Even when he was an 8th grader, Sam participated with the squad as the waterboy. After he graduated from high school, he earned athletic scholarships to multiple universities but ended up choosing to go to the University of Missouri. The 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year was also the first openly gay player to ever get drafted to the NFL, which he got picked up for in the 2014 Draft during the 7th round by the St. Louis Rams. Eventually he was cut from the team when they made their final cuts to reduce the roster, but was added to the training roster for the Dallas Cowboys. However in May 2015, Sam was given a two year contract to play for the Montreal Alouettes where he still plays today.
Sam recently spoke at UAlbany to talk about how his lifestyle greatly impacted his choices and experiences as an NFL player. Whether for better or worse, he was able to learn from this instances and found a way to make new strides in his life that he wasn’t able to do prior to coming out as the first gay professional football player.
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Watch Michael Sam Speaking About his Game against the University of Florida: