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Michael Sam Holds First Press Conference, Says He Wants To Be Seen As 'Michael Sam The Football Player': Video

Missouri defensive end and NFL draft prospect Michael Sam held his very first press conference today since he publicly came out as gay. Some highlights are below.

On gay slurs in the locker room: “I’ve been in locker rooms where all kinds of slurs have been said. I don’t think anyone means it. It might be a little naïve and uneducated but as time goes on, everyone will adapt.”

Sam was also asked how he would feel about being drafted into the Miami Dolphins, this since the release of the Ted Wells report, an investigation which revealed extensive bullying within the team: "If the Miami Dolphins drafted me, I would be excited to be a part of that organization. I'm not afraid about going into that environment. I know how to handle myself, I know how to communicate with my teammates, I know how to communicate with coaches ... and whoever I need to communicate with." 

Addressing the type of questions he's been asked by the media recently: "'How's football going? 'How's training going?' I would love for you to ask me that question. But it is what it is and I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam the football player, not Michael Sam the gay football player.” 

When he was asked if he felt like a trailblazer, he echoed the same response: "I feel like I'm Michael Sam."

Watch a video of the press conference, AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. To paraphrase Neil Armstrong, "One small step for Michael Sam, one giant step for gay America". Nothing destroys gay stereotypes faster than a gay guy who can easily beat you up.

    Posted by: Kieran | Feb 22, 2014 4:10:16 PM

  2. It's great that Sam isn't basing his personality on his sexuality. More gay men need to take heed of this.

    Posted by: roger | Feb 22, 2014 4:12:24 PM

  3. What Roger said... Being gay is just part of who he is, not ALL he is.

    Posted by: RONTEX | Feb 22, 2014 4:15:35 PM

  4. I wonder who is handling Sam's PR. Whomever it is they are doing a good job. Keeping his name out there, calling a press conference, appearing on magazine covers and television shows are all the smart thing to do. Is Ellen next???

    Posted by: Mike Ryan | Feb 22, 2014 4:20:21 PM

  5. I applaud Mr. Sam for having the courage. However, I worry about him now. Maybe it's because of my own personal demons after coming out myself. But truth be told, people are a fickle bunch. And they are going to test him big time and push his buttons. So I really do wish him all the best and hope he prevails in the end. But like he says "It is what it is."

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Feb 22, 2014 4:34:27 PM

  6. I respect and agree with Michael Sam 100%.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Feb 22, 2014 4:40:52 PM

  7. MICKYFLIP, I don't know your history but I'm sure you know Sam's since you made that comment.

    Do you think a guy who is one of 8 where one went missing, 2 are incerated and one is dead from a gang shooting who had to live away from home because his parents were not able to feed/look after him is taking this naively? Moreso, if you saw his instagram; he has been out to his friends and seems really happy. Furthermore, the way he came out to his team and the way he talks now; was very matter of fact-that's who he is.

    He is ready. But are the NFL?

    You bully or make Michael Sam angry and I bet you he plays even better.

    Lastly, he got his degree, a first in his family and he seems really together as a person. He has the goods.

    Posted by: Rowan | Feb 22, 2014 4:43:34 PM

  8. @ Rowan I don't disagree with all you said. My point is that people always like to push buttons. I should know. I still go through it now as I'm sure you go through it daily too. I'm sure Mr. Sam is a phenomenal athlete/person. As I'm certain you are too. But people do like to push buttons. I apologize if my last comment did come out as slightly cynical. However, my personal experiences tell me how the people within the world truly are. I know that sounds quite scathing but it's the truth.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Feb 22, 2014 4:53:46 PM

  9. Then why bring up your personal life? No one is a perfect example of anything. He's gay and you can't tell? Now that's what America needs!

    Posted by: Blake | Feb 22, 2014 4:55:00 PM

  10. Oh, and also I don't quite follow American Football that much. I keep tabs here and there but not to keen on knowing stats, etc.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Feb 22, 2014 4:55:05 PM

  11. @Blake I bring up my personal life because when I came out it wasn't quite accepted. In fact, still not. More tolerated. I still get the snide remarks and jokes. All the time. Don't you?

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Feb 22, 2014 4:57:20 PM

  12. I liked this interview. I normally cringe when I hear the self-loathing "I don't want to be known as the GAY ____" but I think in Sam's case, he's not coming from shame, evidenced by the rainbow "stand with Sam" button he was wearing. He wants you to know he's gay. And he wants you to know he's great at what he does, at a point when he's trying to secure his career.

    Posted by: Randy | Feb 22, 2014 5:01:01 PM

  13. I get no flack about being gay, because like Sam, I'm always camera ready. And a handsome black football player may have been a part of my white childhood gay fantasies.

    Posted by: Blake | Feb 22, 2014 5:07:27 PM

  14. He wants to be known as a football player whose gay rather than a gay football player. He's right on the money....I like Micheal. He's grounded, he's mature and he is comfortable in his own skin, which will make things a lot more comfortable for his teammates, should he make a team, and the media. His handlers (Howard Bragman, agents, etc.) have done a great job with Mike.

    Hopefully he has a good combine because his draft stock is questionable as it is. He'll shut up a lot of doubters by simply killing it on the field.

    Posted by: Francis | Feb 22, 2014 5:08:27 PM

  15. OMYGOD He's such a BABE!!!!!!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 22, 2014 5:10:01 PM

  16. I don't just want to "Stand With Sam" -- I want to lay down with him too. Hubba-Hubba!

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 22, 2014 5:12:02 PM

  17. Seriously, he's so confident and assured he's a (dare I say it?) Role Model for us all -- whether we play football or not.

    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Feb 22, 2014 5:24:17 PM

  18. Well, in order for people to pretend see him as only a football player rather than a gay football player he has to become a part of the NFL first. Otherwise he is that gay college football player who tried to become pro, if is name is publicly mentioned at all.

    Posted by: Gabe R L | Feb 22, 2014 5:25:27 PM

  19. Fantastic guy, he seems to be moving in the right direction to keep his profile in media.

    .. one small criticism. I wish he wasn't wearing something with Under Armor logo, after their continued support of Duck Dynasty.

    Posted by: 604brian | Feb 22, 2014 5:49:39 PM

  20. I haven't had a snide comment about being gay in years, and most of my friends are straight. No one cares. Sure, there are occasional jokes---but I make jokes about them too. Nothing snide or hateful. And I'm not the token gay or playing straight to fit in. I'm just who I am. I'm sorry that other people have to endure such pettiness.

    It's almost certain that he'll be drafted. The original negative responses, all anonymous and most from low- to mid-tier NFL staff, have been discredited. Many coaches, players (current and retired), and commentators have weighed in, with their names attached to their words, and their responses have generally ranged from supportive to unconcerned. Of course a few players have said some dumb things, and the media is likely spinning things more positively on some days and less so on others. I'm sure that the media's fixation on the locker room will wane---just as I'm sure that any problems there will be created by other players, not by Sam.

    But he's a fantastic player and has proven himself capable of facing challenges. There's no way he's going to be a mere footnote in the history of football or increase support for gay players and people.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 22, 2014 7:06:08 PM

  21. @Paul R: You might want to reedit that last sentence (I know what you meant, but it is not what you wrote - inserting a "not" after "or" would fix it).

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 22, 2014 7:35:38 PM

  22. He's so amazing. I bet he's even surprised many gay people.

    Posted by: snork | Feb 22, 2014 9:36:41 PM

  23. Good for you Mr. Sam!

    Posted by: lg | Feb 23, 2014 6:03:59 AM

  24. His strong sense of self and ability to articulate it honestly and modestly shows me that he can handle whatever the world wants to throw at him. We're lucky this guy was the first.

    Posted by: MrRoboto | Feb 23, 2014 6:07:01 AM

  25. I still don't get why he wouldn't wait to make the gay announcement AFTER he'd been drafted to play on an NFL Team? Doesn't it only "muddy the waters" for him to announce this beforehand? Get on the team first, THEN call the homophobes out!

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 23, 2014 9:32:35 AM

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