Michael Sam's Emotional 'Dancing With The Stars' Performance Addresses How He's Overcome His Father's Homophobia
This week's theme was The Most Memorable Year of Your Life, so Michael Sam's Dancing With the Stars performance drew upon the time he came out as gay. In February 2014, the football player became the first active NFL member to come out. While he was met with support from many, his father was less than thrilled. The New York Times reported that after learning the news, Sam's dad said, "I don't want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment." On Monday's DWTS, Sam opened up about that article and the effect it had on him. "When I read that I was hurt," he admitted. "I called him and I said, 'You lost another son again by what you said.'"
Sam was referencing the fact that he already lost one of his brothers in a shooting, two to prison, and saw another disappear without a trace. Not having his father's support when he'd already been through so much was hard for Sam, but he's determined to move forward to a lighter place—which is what his dance was all about.
Set to the song, "I'm Not My Father's Son" by Billy Porter, Sam's rumba was stunning. He described the dance as starting in a sad place but progressing to a place of strength. "There's light at the end of the tunnel and I'm walking right for it," he explained. The story behind the dance was heartbreaking, but Sam's performance was even more emotional and breathtaking.
All of the judges teared up as they scored the number 30 points out of 40. "It takes an enormous amount of guts to take a stand for what you believe in," Bruno Tonioli said of Sam's coming out. "I guarantee it helped a lot of people so all that struggle was worth it." Judge Carrie Ann Inaba agreed saying, "You were truly dancing your soul for us ... and it was breathtaking."
It's unfortunate that Sam and his father haven't spoken since he came out, but I'm so proud that Sam is unashamedly living his life and stepping into that light. His strength is admirable both on and off the football field. Although he was eliminated from the competition, I know his story will continue to inspire people, and that's the best kind of victory to have.
Image: Adam Taylor/ABC