Michael Sam doesn't believe being gay has kept him out of NFL

Thu. February 19, 2015 8:02 AM by OnTopMag.com

Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL, says that he does not believe coming out has kept him out of the NFL.

In an op-ed published Wednesday, Sam reflected on the one year anniversary of his coming out.

"Over the past 12 months I've been called by some a distraction, by others a hero, but I'm still working to earn the label that matters to me most: football player," Sam wrote.

The 25-year-old Sam, the SEC defensive player of the year in 2013, was cut by the St. Louis Rams before the start of the season. He then joined the Cowboys' 10-man practice squad, where he stayed for seven weeks before being let go. He's now a free agent.

"Deciding to publicly come out is a major moment in every gay person's life, and nobody wants to be outed. So the reason I came out in the public way I did, in a nationally televised interview, was to ensure that I would again have a chance to tell my story on my own terms."

"I don't believe that being gay has kept me off an NFL roster," he added. "But I will challenge anyone who says I don't have the talent to make it in the league, and I will continue to push myself every single day and do whatever it takes until I can earn another roster spot."

(Related: Michael Sam: I knew I was gay after first time.)