NBJC Salutes NFL Prospect, Michael Sam, For Owning His Truth
Washington, DC – February 10, 2014 – Michael Sam, University of Missouri’s All-American defensive lineman and the 2013 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Defensive Player of the Year, has made history by owning his truth and proclaiming to the world that he is an “openly gay, proud man.” Sam, at 6 foot 2 and 260 pounds, ended his senior season with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss of yards. He is likely to be a major factor in May’s National Football League (NFL) draft, where he is expected to go in the early rounds with a possible position switch to outside linebacker. If drafted, Michael Sam would be the first openly gay player in the NFL.
“I’m not afraid to tell the world who I am. I’m Michael Sam: I’m a college graduate. I’m African-American, and I’m gay,” he said in an interview Sunday. “I'm comfortable in my skin.”
Michael Sam, a native of Hitchcock, Texas, graduated from the University of Missouri in December, the only member of his family to attend college. He is the seventh of eight children of JoAnn and Michael Sam. It was a tough childhood; three of his siblings have died, and two brothers are in prison, Sam said in a New York Times interview. He was raised mostly by his mother, and spent several years with another family. All of his family and extended loved-ones have been supportive of his coming out, according to Sam in the interview.
“Michael Sam has made a historic and courageous decision to live his authentic truth for the world to see,” said Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Executive Director and CEO of NBJC. “Sam continues the tradition of breaking down barriers for not only LGBT athletes who dream of playing professional sports, but all LGBT people, young and old, who seek to live openly, honestly and safely in their neighborhoods and communities. This day is truly remarkable, and we at NBJC salute Michael Sam for being brave enough to own his power.”
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The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) is a civil rights organization dedicated to empowering Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. NBJC's mission is to end racism and homophobia.