Michael Sam Appears on 'GMA' & Wants to Be a "Beacon" for Other Players — VIDEO
University of Missouri defensive end and NFL hopeful Michael Sam appeared on Good Morning America Wednesday to discuss his upcoming draft prospects, as well as the honor of being given this year’s Arthur Ashe Award for Courage at the ESPY Awards. The college football player, you'll recall, made major headlines this year after coming out as an openly gay man. After releasing his touching statement, Sam received nothing but encouragement from his teammates, who he often refers to as his family.
Along with an outpouring of support from fans and teammates, Sam also received messages of gratitude from fellow college players, as well as NFL athletes. Many of those who reached out to Sam expressed that they were closeted homosexuals.
I'm not the only one. There's a lot of us. I heard from a good portion of them.
Not only has Sam’s classy and heartfelt public persona helped other players open up to him, the young football star hopes to do more. In his own words:
I just feel like because I came out, I was the first one to do it, I could be a beacon for other athletes who may be gay or maybe not... I think I can be a beacon for those people, a light, like 'I can be comfortable in my own skin and be like Michael Sam.'
Taking on homophobia in professional sports is no easy task. We can only hope that there will be more players like Sam who approach the subject with such humanity. He later commented, “It's okay if you're gay. If someone disowns you, hey, you can be a part of my family. I will accept you." His skill as player speaks volumes and who he is off the field speaks even higher of his character. The NFL could really use more men like Sam, as the greatest players are often defined by far more than just how they perform on the field.
See the interview with fellow Ashe award winner and proudly out anchor Robin Roberts below: