That’s what he gets... Trying to pull a publicity stunt. Would you have drafted him even if he didn’t come out?

Michael Sam regrets not waiting to come out as gay

The first openly gay NFL player to be drafted says coming out before the draft hurt his professional chances.

Michael Sam
 Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Looking back almost exactly five years to the day he publicly came out as gay, Michael Sam says he now regrets doing so before the NFL draft.

Although he made history as the first openly gay football player ever drafted, Sam told students at the University of New Mexico he believes coming out at that time hurt his draft status, reported The Albquerque Journal.

In 2014, Sam was the SEC co-defensive player of the year and a star defensive end for the University of Missouri. The Tigers defensive end came out to his teammates in 2013, before his senior season. They protected him and supported him, he told UNM students attending his talk in the UNM Student Union Ballroom Tuesday, except for one time.

Sam said there were actually two instances in which he felt betrayed: the first was when a Mizzou teammate called him what the Journal described as a derogatory name, during practice.

Then, after getting drafted by the Rams in May 2014, a teammate reportedly called Sam a negative name. He told his audience he stood up for himself.

But even though Sam led the Rams in sacks during that preseason and was later a practice-squad player for the Dallas Cowboys, he never played in a single regular-season game in the NFL. That, Sam said, made him angry and led to depression.

Calling it mental illness, Sam said he had to learn to forgive, starting with himself. He forgave his father who he said abandoned the family, and his brothers, who he said abused him. But Sam struggled to forgive the NFL.

“The NFL gave me a raw deal,” said Sam, according to The Albuquerque Journal. “It was tough to forgive them. I love football. Football gave me an education and gave me the opportunity I so desperately needed at the time. I really am grateful for the sport.”

A freshman was among the students who asked questions of Sam, and spoke of her own feelings of shame, embarrassment and regret as an out lesbian, the Journal reported. Sam stepped off the stage to give Nadia Mata a hug.

When asked who is the better NFL coach, Jeff Fisher, formerly of the Rams, or Jason Garrett of the Cowboys, Sam said he preferred Fisher for how he treated Sam, speaking to him directly and making an effort to get to know him. Sam complained that Garrett only spoke to him twice: on his first day with the Cowboys and the day Garrett told him he’d been cut.

“I have no respect for him whatsoever,” Sam said of Garrett. “I was at Dallas just to be at Dallas.”

Sam told students he plans to write his autobiography.

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