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Michael Sam's Father Struggling with His Son's Sexuality

The NYT has published a background story on football player Michael Sam's challenging upbringing in Missouri, which he says was more challenging than his decision to come out of the closet. Sam's father's reaction to that coming out reveals some of those difficulties, the paper reports:

SamsrLast Tuesday, Michael Sam Sr. was at a Denny’s near his home outside Dallas to celebrate his birthday when his son sent him a text message.

Dad, I’m gay, he wrote.

The party stopped cold. “I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” Sam Sr. said. “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment.

“I’m old school,” he added. “I’m a man-and-a-woman type of guy.” As evidence, he pointed out that he had taken an older son to Mexico to lose his virginity.

On Sunday night, just after Michael Sam announced his intention to make sports history, his father was still struggling with the news.

Sam Sr. loves his son, and he said he hoped his son made it to the N.F.L. “As a black man, we have so many hurdles to cross,” he said. “This is just one he has to cross.”

But he expressed discomfort at the very idea of a gay N.F.L. player, even if the player was his son. He grumbled that Deacon Jones, the Hall of Fame defensive end renowned for his toughness, “is turning over in his grave.”

Michael Sam says when he visits home, he usually stays with friends.

Life had hardly been kind to him or his family. Michael Sr. and his mother, JoAnn Sam, were separated after having eight children. He went to North Texas to work as a trucker. She tried to keep what was left of her family together.

A sister drowned when she was 2, before Michael was born, when another child accidentally knocked her off a fishing pier. Another brother, Russell, was 15 when he was shot and killed trying to break into a home, in what his father said was part of a gang initiation. Another brother, Julian, has not been heard from since he left for work one day in 1998; his family believes he is dead. Two others are in jail.

Read the full profile HERE, which reveals how Sam overcame his family troubles to head to college and get to where he is today.

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  1. No wonder Michael Sam has the intestinal fortitude to come out. He's be to hell and back already in his personal family life.

    Posted by: jeffg166 | Feb 12, 2014 7:33:06 AM

  2. Good grief what a dysfunctional family. It may be hard for Michael to be in the public eye because of it. Here's wishing Michael happiness and success from here on out.

    Personal observation - humor comes from pain and I bet Michael Sam is very funny once you get him going.

    Posted by: Rob | Feb 12, 2014 7:33:38 AM

  3. Sounds like the Sam family has more to worry about than one son's sexuality!

    Posted by: JerzeeMike | Feb 12, 2014 7:42:37 AM

  4. So sad. And demonstrates what an incredibly tough man Michael Sam is and will be.

    Posted by: Larry | Feb 12, 2014 7:56:13 AM

  5. Father's not too bright. Why didn't he go to Applebee's in the first place?

    Posted by: michaelr | Feb 12, 2014 7:56:31 AM

  6. That father. Took a son to Mexico to lose his virginity? Christ, what a piece of work he is. Hope Michael is able to keep that man at a distance and, like so many of us have had to do, concentrate on building his own healthy family of choice.

    Posted by: DavidAZ | Feb 12, 2014 7:57:25 AM

  7. what a f'd up father...."awe my son isn't eatin pussy and bein a baby daddy for numerous women... waaaaa waaaaaa"...LOSER father!!!!!

    Posted by: disgusted american | Feb 12, 2014 8:00:00 AM

  8. Wait until the $$$ rolls in, this greedy loser will be singing a new song with his hands open wide!!

    Posted by: CC | Feb 12, 2014 8:01:38 AM

  9. And they want to stop US from bringing up kids.

    Posted by: Tristram | Feb 12, 2014 8:18:13 AM

  10. Old school, like having gay men marry women, having children, and then everyone being miserable.

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Feb 12, 2014 8:46:25 AM

  11. Oh STFU Mister, Celie aint taking your BS anymore. 10-1 his attitude will change once JR gets a big dollar contract and Mister wants a new suit, hideous gold jooree and a Lexus.

    Posted by: NotSafeForWork | Feb 12, 2014 8:51:28 AM

  12. “I’m old school,” he added. “I’m a man-and-a-woman type of guy.” As evidence, he pointed out that he had taken an older son to Mexico to lose his virginity.

    Nice person. Find an impoverished third world woman to submit to prostitution, then tell everyone how upstanding you are. Nice.

    Posted by: Phil | Feb 12, 2014 8:57:15 AM

  13. Really? Two in jail, one killed in a gang initation, another missing and probably dead, a little girl drowned after being pushed off a pier by another child & this man is out of sorts and goes drinking because his son is gay? This is one of the saddest things I've ever read. My heart goes out to Michael Sam. May he continue to have the courage to live his own life.

    Posted by: rjinva | Feb 12, 2014 9:01:14 AM

  14. "I don't want my grandson raised in that kind of environment. Pretty much I'd like to see him raised in the kind of environment where he'd be taken to Mexico to lose his virginity. Or where might join a gang and get shoot. Or..."

    Yeah. Good parenting at its prime. How nice is that?

    Posted by: Nirgal | Feb 12, 2014 9:03:32 AM

  15. Sam seems to be the best son out of the whole lot. Hopefully, the father will open his eyes and see.

    Posted by: Chris L. | Feb 12, 2014 9:12:21 AM

  16. Hey Michael Sam ... if you've made it this far with the courage you've already shown us, you'll go places young man. There are thousands of people who are rooting for you in more ways than just on the field. Just look around you - you have "family". We're very proud of you.

    Posted by: rroberts | Feb 12, 2014 9:28:45 AM

  17. As a black man, we have so many hurdles to cross,” he said.

    I'm continually amazed how black many people - who may have experienced much discrimination in their lives - find it acceptable to discriminate agains LGBT people.

    Posted by: Joe in Toronto | Feb 12, 2014 9:31:35 AM

  18. Spare us this soap opera, please.

    Posted by: enchantra | Feb 12, 2014 9:52:23 AM

  19. Lots of reasons here not to look back. Onward and upward, Michael.

    Posted by: norseman | Feb 12, 2014 9:55:57 AM

  20. Okay, I read this story twice. Top to bottom. Took the story apart as much as I could to see if there was something I missed. After stepping back and taking a deep breath, I conclude that Michael Sam, Jr. is the only one in the lot that became successful.

    Michael Sam, Jr. is apparently the only one among them to have avoided a criminal record or a sordid past.

    Simultaneous with Michael Sam, Jr.'s honesty and integrity (by coming out now to save the relentless questions by the media later) Michael Sam, Sr. says he is struggling with his son's sexuality.

    Well, well well, Mr. Sam. We are sorry you are struggling with it. Because believe it or not, we are also struggling with the fact that at least two family members are incarcerated and WE are the ones - as taxpayers - who are supporting them. Gay people do pay taxes, and taxes support the prison systems.

    Conversely, Jr. is out there making a name, a career and a positive mark for himself and is a role model for today's troubled youth. You know, the ones like the two who are currently in prison.

    So go ahead and "struggle" Mr. Sam, and hold on to those feelings dearly.

    Enjoy the bigotry while you can, you worthless, hating, despicable excuse for a parent. You were a failure as a father before you even started but the one thing I am thankful for is that in all of the mess in your life, a very bold and brave young man emerged and came out of it.

    Shame to you, Mr. Sam, Sr. Shame for "struggling" with the only positive thing you ever had in your entire life.

    Now, go get your Bible, Mr. Sam, and read it again.

    Posted by: Mark | Feb 12, 2014 10:02:57 AM

  21. Let me paraphrase for Michael's dad: "I'm old school; I think that men should pay for sex from poor, abused, pimped and manipulated women".

    Posted by: MIke | Feb 12, 2014 10:19:44 AM

  22. GMAFB 1/2 the White Gays I know parents wouldnt piss on them if they were on fire.Im tired of this BS that Blacks are so much more homophobic.This guy dropped out in Junior high school of course he is ignorant.What about all the White college educated people who head EVERY national anti Gay organization.
    For the question why are some Blacks homophobic,tell my are some Gays racist,sexist,homophobic,etc

    Posted by: Kim | Feb 12, 2014 10:30:15 AM

  23. The fact that the son told his father he is gay via text message is probably a good indicator of their relationship.

    Posted by: PDQ | Feb 12, 2014 10:31:39 AM

  24. I now officially love Michael Sam--Jr., that is. Anyone who goes through this kind of garbage growing up and soars like a phoenix to where is he now (an openly gay NFL draft pick) is truly a remarkable, remarkable man.

    Posted by: Dback | Feb 12, 2014 10:37:29 AM

  25. No big loss Michael...never look back!!

    Posted by: Johnny | Feb 12, 2014 10:39:38 AM

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