Michael Sam: ‘I’m not the only one in the NFL that’s gay’

Nick Solari

Michael Sam was forthright and sincere as he spoke to Quinnipiac students and faculty on Tuesday evening in Burt Kahn Court.

Sam, the first openly gay football player to be drafted into the National Football League, revealed something to all in attendance: he’s not the only player that’s gay.

“I’m just gonna say I’m not the only one in the NFL that is gay, I’m just the only one that is out,” Sam said.

The former Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year acknowledged that he understands why others haven’t come out publicly.

“They want to protect their livelihood,” Sam said. “But there will be a time [when they come out]. There’s going to be a day.”

Sam spoke for about an hour on a variety of topics, including his future in football, his decision to come out as gay and the recent announcement that he’ll be participating in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.

“It was a really cool experience, it was different,” Sam told The Chronicle after the event. “It was fun, it’s already been a year since I graduated. So it was nice to be back around people my age.”

Sam talked about the upcoming NFL Veterans Combine, the first of its kind, on March 22 in Phoenix, Arizona.

“I thought I did enough in the preseason (last season), but apparently it wasn’t enough,” Sam said. “I just have to work harder. I’m certain, whatever league I’m playing in, that I’m going to be playing football somewhere next year.”

“I’ve fought adversity all my life. It helped me become me.”

The defensive end also spoke about how his plan wasn’t to come out before the NFL Draft. Rather, he wanted to come out once he was drafted by a team.

“If I had my choice, I would have never came out in a public manner,” Sam said. “My plan was not to come out publicly. But God had other plans, so I did what I did.”

Sam even discussed his upcoming appearance on Dancing with the Stars. He announced on Feb. 24 that he would be participating in the ABC show, but added in a series of tweets that football remained his top priority.

“They wanted to do it last year, but it wasn’t the right time,” Sam said of the show. “They came back this year and I said ‘hell yeah, let’s do it.’

Sam’s partner on the show will be Peta Murgatroyd, who he says ‘challenges him every single day in training.’

“I joke around and tell her not to work me too hard,” he said with a laugh.

Sam also talked about his sexuality, and specifically how it relates to his fiance Vito Cammisano.

“My fiance gave me the strength [to come out],” Sam said. “The challenge I get now is, why are you not dating a gay black guy? Why are you dating a white guy?”

“Why would I do that?” Sam asked the audience. “Why would I leave someone I fell in love with and have been through so many challenges with.”

Sam concluded by offering one last piece of advice to all the students in the room.

“College goes by too fast,” he said. “Don’t be afraid of who you are, and keep working hard for what you truly believe.”