Michael Sam may have been the first openly gay athlete to be drafted into the NFL, but he recently told GQ magazine that he wasn’t always as open about his sexuality, but knew he could either come out on his own or wait for his secret to get out.
“People think the word didn’t get out. It did. Or it did and it didn’t. They kept it confined within our family. But the recruiters knew, and reporters knew, and they talked to each other, and it got out,” Sam told GQ. “If I didn’t have the year I did, nobody would have cared. But I did have that year. And a lot of people knew. Someone was gonna ask me, “I heard you told your team a secret.…” Well, I was comfortable with who I was, and I wouldn’t have denied it. And then I wouldn’t have been able to control the story. But I have no regrets.”
Sam’s coming out was pretty eventful and he decided to do it during an on-camera interview. When he was drafted by the Ram’s he was also shown kissing his boyfriend as they celebrated.
— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) November 17, 2014
Sam came from a troubled family and told GQ that he often got beat up as a child. He also said that his siblings were in trouble with the law a lot and that while he still loves them, he tries to keep his distance from them.
“We called the cops on my brothers so many times I can’t even count,” he said. “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.”
According to the New York Times, two of Sam’s brothers are currently in prison.
Sam’s great year and positive attitude have led to him being chosen as one of GQ’s Men Of The Year, an award he is very proud of.