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Michael Sam Delivers Emotional Speech After Receiving Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPYs: VIDEO

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St. Louis Rams player Michael Sam received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award last night at the ESPYs and delivered an emotional acceptance speech, his voice breaking several times, as he spoke about what the award meant to him.

Said Sam, in part:

The way I see it, my responsibility at this moment in history is to stand up for everybody out there who wants nothing more than to be themselves openly. Recently, a friend asked me to talk to his sister, a young woman who was considering killing herself rather than accepting and sharing with her loved ones the fact that she's gay. When we spoke, she told me she would never consider hurting herself and that somehow my example helped her. It's amazing to think that, by just doing what we can, we can all touch, change and even save lives.

Watch and read the transcript, AFTER THE JUMP...

Cammisano

Transcript:

"The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is a big honor. Much bigger than just me. This year I've had a lot of experience being part of something bigger than myself. At times, I've felt like I've been living in a massive storm, without knowing when the storm will end. I'm here tonight to tell you the lessons I learned about love, respect, being true to yourself will never leave me.

"The late, great Arthur Ashe wasn't just courageous. He was brilliant, too. In fact, he once put all the wisdom in the world in three short sentences: 'Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.' Those are words to live by, whether you're black or white, young or old, straight or gay. So let me tell you why these words mean so much to me, like this award does.

"First, start where you are. Like a lot of us, I didn't start on top. That only drove me to get somewhere better. I was lucky to have great father figures like Ronnie Purl, my mentor and best friend. And great coaches like Gary Pinkel and (Hitchcock's) Craig Smith, who knew my story and did everything possible to give it a better ending.

"Next, use what you have. What I have is the privilege to play a game that I love with all my heart. Football raised me. Football taught me about hard work, about discipline and about teamwork. But whatever passion or talent you have, follow it. I followed mine, and it got me all the way to this stage tonight, so I can look out and see so many of my heroes looking back at me.

"Finally, Arthur Ashe said, 'Do what you can.' Those have been very meaningful words to me. The way I see it, my responsibility at this moment in history is to stand up for everybody out there who wants nothing more than to be themselves openly. Recently, a friend asked me to talk to his sister, a young woman who was considering killing herself rather than accepting and sharing with her loved ones the fact that she's gay. When we spoke, she told me she would never consider hurting herself and that somehow my example helped her. It's amazing to think that, by just doing what we can, we can all touch, change and even save lives.

"I want to take a moment to just thank some of my friends who have helped me. (Agents) Cameron Weiss and Joe Barkett, young guys who took a chance on me, just like I took a chance on them. And (public relations consultant) Ken Sunshine. Ronnie and Candy Purl, who have done so much to help me get here. My entire Mizzou family for all the support you've given me. You will always be home. And to the Rams organiztion -- (owner) Stan Kroenke, (general manager) Les Snead, (head coach Jeff) Fisher and my teammates. To my mother (JoAnn Sam), a single mother who somehow raised eight kids, I love you dearly.

"Last but not least, (boyfriend and former Missouri swimmer) Vito (Cammisano). People tell me that I'm their inspiration. You are my inspiration.

"Standing here tonight looking out at all these legends who have already achieved so much is one of the thrills of my life. I promise to spend the rest of my life trying my best to live up to this honor and become the best football player I can.

"And finally, to anyone out there -- especially young people -- feeling like they don't fit in and will never be accepted, please know this: great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself.

"Thank you and God bless."

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Comments

  1. I wonder if gay men reach a certain age, where they stop calling other gay men Her as a means of insulting the other person. There's something that is incredibly homophobic about using the term her as a way of denigrating another gay male. I don't get why so many gay men fall back on that insult. What's next, using the word gay to insult people?

    Posted by: Cadence | Jul 17, 2014 12:21:32 PM


  2. either way, that Vito's a hot piece.

    Posted by: Cd in DC | Jul 17, 2014 12:28:59 PM


  3. He seems like an extremely humble and awesome guy. I wish him all the best. His real test is yet to come though. I just hope he pulls through.

    Posted by: MickyFlip | Jul 17, 2014 1:21:18 PM


  4. I appreciate the REAL and HONEST emotions Michael Sam expresses and if he's moved to cry then why judge it or diminish it?
    Crying is powerful and cathartic AND beautiful. Perhaps is more men cried instead of killing each other the world might actually evolve?

    Posted by: SFshawn | Jul 17, 2014 2:06:15 PM


  5. Perhaps "if"

    Posted by: SFshawn | Jul 17, 2014 2:06:53 PM


  6. I know now when I see comments by TRUTHER/JAKE/PETEY/RICK to just skip right over them because they are irrelevant drivel. These trolls could never be half the man Michael Sam is. That's right, a man that cries and gets emotional because he's saving young gay kids from killing themselves.

    Posted by: SpaceCadet | Jul 17, 2014 2:34:21 PM


  7. I love men who cry

    Posted by: r | Jul 17, 2014 3:18:25 PM


  8. He's great - can't wait to see his career grow from here!

    Posted by: reality | Jul 17, 2014 4:25:52 PM


  9. Derrick, I get you.

    I really resonate with Sam as someone who barely cried, if AT ALL during a big chunk of my life until I met someone in my 20's who was determined to chip through with their darned kindness.

    So now, when something happens to me that makes me remember of what I've been through...I literally cry. It's so weird because I'm not that emotional.

    There is a saying I think which is you have to be careful about letting love into your life when you have been hard because it makes you soft.

    Vito has made him soft!

    All good.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jul 17, 2014 5:24:57 PM


  10. This snow queen need to stop crying so much.I mean come on how will he make in in football being a big queen.I guess Vito is the top.

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 17, 2014 6:59:11 PM


  11. It is a shame that tears are considered unmanly in this country just like it is a shame that sissy gay men are disgusting to butch gay men.If men opened their hearts more instead of hating so much it would be a better world. I thought Michael Sams did a wonderful job at his speech, especially when you think of where this polished, successful man came from. What an emotional year this man must have had and to have been thrust on a national stage out of obsscurity just recently.

    Posted by: John | Jul 17, 2014 9:24:01 PM


  12. Man up, dude!

    Posted by: wheelie | Jul 18, 2014 12:58:33 AM


  13. Michael Sam is an inspiration to lots of gay people - young and old. To be able to publicly come out before the whole draft process and be loud and proud in the NFL before you even have a NFL career takes major balls. I respect this guy 110%

    Posted by: andover1 | Jul 18, 2014 1:29:46 AM


  14. That was perfect. It's exactly what the LGBT community needs right now in breaking down many more walls. This is huge.

    Posted by: Marc | Jul 18, 2014 1:30:26 AM


  15. Rick, per your comment about "excessive crying" would you please put a definite vol/hr measurement on "excessive" so we all know what you mean? thanx

    Posted by: radioredrafts | Jul 18, 2014 2:21:36 AM


  16. I'm happy he's having success, but does he have to cry so much? It makes him look like an extremely wimpy/emotional person, which is exactly why people DIDN'T want gays in the NFL for along time. Go win some games.

    Posted by: Yawn | Jul 19, 2014 2:32:32 PM


  17. The butt boy is just nasty and disgusting. Nothing courageous admitting he's having anal sex with men.Gag

    Posted by: Mack | Jul 23, 2014 11:26:12 AM


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