Football (American) | Michael Sam | News | NFL | Robin Roberts | Sports

In Pre-Draft 'GMA' Interview, NFL Hopeful Michael Sam Says He'll Receive the Arthur Ashe Award at ESPYs: VIDEO

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NFL hopeful Michael Sam appeared on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts this morning ahead of the draft, which begins tomorrow at Radio City Music Hall. If all goes well (experts says he'll get picked late, if at all - others call his chances 50-50) he'll emerge as the first active openly gay player in the NFL.

Roberts_samSam sat down (note: he has declined interviews with both ESPN and NFL Network this week) to talk with Roberts about his excitement about the draft, and the reaction to his coming out.

Sam also told Roberts he has heard from other gay players:

"You know, on the night of my announcement - that week I had gotten so many emails, so many text messages, from college and NFL players, and other athletes in the sport industry about how courageous I was. (They) themselves are closeted homosexuals. So yeah, I'm not the only one. There's a lot of us."

WATCH THE INTERVIEW, AFTER THE JUMP...

A big announcement was also made - Sam will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPYs this year on July 16.

The AP writes:

Sam joins a prestigious list of winners ranging from Jim Valvano, the first recipient in 1995, to Muhammad Ali, Billie Jean King, Cathy Freeman, Nelson Mandela and Pat Summitt.

The award, of course, is named for Ashe, the inspirational tennis star who died in 1993 after contracting AIDS from a blood transfusion. After learning he had the disease, Ashe campaigned to raise awareness about AIDS.

“Arthur always believed in and practiced leading by example,” said Ashe’s widow, Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe. “When Michael Sam announced that he is gay, he courageously stepped forward to engage an issue that still remains a pervasive problem in many professional sports. Michael has displayed true leadership both on and off the field.”

In related news, the NFL may have a big PR problem on its hands if Sam doesn't get drafted, according to former player Wade Davis, who spoke with Ken Babb in the Washington Post:

If that happens, Davis said, the perception won't be that it was because of Sam's ability.

"The NFL kind of has no win in this situation," said Davis, who himself came out after his NFL career ended and is now a gay-rights activist. "Because if he doesn't get drafted, it's going to be positioned that he didn't get drafted because he's gay."

...Put simply: The NFL would avoid a major public-relations headache if, at any point this weekend, a team uses a draft pick — seen as perhaps the league's most valuable currency — on Sam, who Davis said wasn't planning to stay in New York for the draft and would instead watch the selection show among friends and family in his native Texas. If he goes undrafted or isn't even signed as a free agent, the NFL's message of progress and preparedness for a gay player becomes a more difficult sell.

WATCH THE INTERVIEW, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Comments

  1. Lord, help me, I'm in love--but I'm 30 years too late. I wish him the best--absolutley the best.

    Hey, the Philadelphia Eages can use a good defensive back or special teams player. Come on here to Philly, Micheal. I promise I won't stand outside the stadium glaring at you.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 7, 2014 10:57:06 AM


  2. I'm just under 11 years older than Michael. I think I still have a chance. Lol. So excited for tomorrow but he's probably more so!

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | May 7, 2014 11:03:06 AM


  3. "If he goes undrafted or isn't even signed as a free agent, the NFL's message of progress and preparedness for a gay player becomes a more difficult sell."

    This is why we need an established superstar to come out. As long as the players we are dealing with are in some LEGITIMATE way considered marginal--or could be considered such subjectively, whether Jason Collins or Michael Sam or Wade Davis, there is always going to be some doubt about whether their sexual orientation is an issue or not.

    An Aaron Rogers or a Derek Jeter or a Lebron James would be beyond "reproach" (not saying any of them are gay, although Rogers could be), but a so-so prospect will not be.

    Posted by: Rick | May 7, 2014 11:21:08 AM


  4. Visions of Sam giving Roberts tips on how to be a top in and out of the bed during the commercial break eeewww...

    Posted by: Troy | May 7, 2014 11:22:00 AM


  5. "Hey, the Philadelphia Eages can use a good defensive back or special teams player. Come on here to Philly, Micheal. I promise I won't stand outside the stadium glaring at you."

    Defensive back? Maybe linebacker, but not defensive back.

    In any case, Derrick, Philadelphia would be one of the worst places for him to play because, as you know, its fans are the most brutal in the entire world, so the likelihood that he would be subjected to taunts and other forms of abuse would be higher there than most other places, despite Philadelphia supposedly being a more "progressive" place (that progressivness does not apply to many of its sports fans, I'm afraid)

    Posted by: Rick | May 7, 2014 11:23:36 AM


  6. God, how I hate to agree with Rick. And maybe I won't.

    Yes, Philadelphia sports fans can be barbarians, but maybe YOU underestimate their improvement as civilized human beings. We have a Black hockey player (Wayne Simmonds) on the Philadelphia Flyers team. As far as I know he's be accepted ('course I don't follow hockey).

    I'd just love to have Michael Sam drafted.

    Where do you think he'll fit in? San Francisco?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | May 7, 2014 11:38:17 AM


  7. Of course he anticipates an award. There must always be one.

    Posted by: Arrow | May 7, 2014 11:47:13 AM


  8. Why don't these closeted athletes just come out already?! They are causing themselves more harm than good in the long run.

    Posted by: RK | May 7, 2014 12:32:29 PM


  9. I hate anyone drawing any conclusions from whether he is drafted or not. He is borderline, and being gay should not help or hurt his chances. I hate seeing him pushed in because he's gay, and I hate seeing him ignored because of it as well.

    Posted by: DC Insider | May 7, 2014 3:38:58 PM


  10. DCINSIDER: That's three "I hates" You hold the record.

    Posted by: Arrow | May 7, 2014 3:49:23 PM


  11. Tom Brady wasn't considered a superstar until AFTER he was drafted -- in the sixth round.

    Anything is possible, but I know better than to hold my breath.

    Posted by: Jerry | May 7, 2014 3:53:10 PM


  12. With Brady, you have to hold your breath -- or gag to death.

    Posted by: Jay | May 7, 2014 8:47:33 PM


  13. "Where do you think he'll fit in? San Francisco?"

    San Francisco (but not Oakland, because Raiders fans are just as brutal as Eagles fans), maybe Seattle.

    Or--just throwing a curve ball out there--maybe Houston or Dallas, since he is from Texas.....or St. Louis or Kansas City, since he played for Missouri. People in those cities might be more homophobic, but they are also less aggressive, generally, so it MIGHT work out in those places.

    We will see.

    Posted by: Rick | May 8, 2014 10:12:51 AM


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