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STAND WITH SAM: Michael Sam Addresses The Media At NFL Combine Press Conference

Sporting a rainbow button with the words “Stand With Sam” written across it, the defensive end prospect out of Missouri answered questions for roughly 15 minutes. SPOILER: Most of the questions had nothing to do with football. He was professional. He was funny at times. He was composed. He said all the right things. But most importantly, Michael Sam seemed really happy, even if he seemed a little nervous at first.

The pin was given to him by a woman at a Missouri-Tennessee basketball game.

For the record, we’re pretty confident wearing a rainbow pin to the NFL Combine has never been done before by a player. Now let’s see if the Nets or Clippers end up signing 35-year-old openly gay big man, Jason Collins, this week, effectively changing the scope of Sam’s anticipated arrival as the first openly gay athlete in a major American sport. Judging by his responses today, we’re pretty sure all he wants to do is play football and make millions of dollars doing it. Wait, is it weird that he’s gay or that people actually get paid millions of dollars to run around for seven second clips, a few plays a game, 16 games a year?

[CBS Sports]
•How would he deal with fans who might hurl insults at him? “When I’m on the field, I don’t focus on the fans. I focus on my responsibilities, which is the guy right across from me.”

•What if the Dolphins drafted him? “If the Miami Dolphins drafted me, I would be excited to be a part of that organization. I’m not afraid of going into that environment. I know how to handle myself. I know how to communicate with teammates and coaches.”

•What if one of your teammates insults you in a not-so-playful way? “If someone wants to call me a name, I’ll have a conversation with that guy, and hopefully, it won’t lead to anything else.”

Sam will participate in the the forty-yard dash, bench press, vertical jump, broad jump, three cone drill, 20-yard shuffle, and sixty-yard shuffle on Monday, February 24th. You can read his pre-combine scouting report here.

  • msf

    And so it begins. By doing things like singling himself out and pointing to his sexuality out with that pin, he is making this all about him and being gay. This will all lead to the inevitable bitch session from the media when he drops lower than most people thought (forgetting about his mid-to-late-round projections before coming out). Just show up, give it your best at the combine, and let that speak for itself.

  • Jake O’Donnell

    He should be able to do whatever he wants. There’s nothing inappropriate about wearing a pin. If someone wore a pin that said “Support people with red hair” it wouldn’t be an issue. This is the same thing. Give him some credit. What he’s doing is unprecedented and incredibly difficult.

  • msf

    I didn’t say it was inappropriate. My point is this draws attention away from his game and we will all see how that carries over after the draft. He came out. That’s great. Now it’s time to play ball, but that won’t happen. From now until at least the beginning of this next season, the focus will be on his sexuality. Every team that passes on him will be questioned. Look what happened after Jason Collins came out. Before, he was a retired ball player. After, he was a man looking for a team. I can’t remember how many stories I read asking why no one would give him a contract. It didn’t matter that he was an old big man putting up low numbers and low minutes. All that mattered was that he was gay and any team not grabbing him did so because he was gay. The same will happen here. The more he draws attention to it, the more of an issue it will become. There’s no doubt in my mind he’s got someone in his ear telling him to do this.

  • Anonymous

    No offense, but that doesn’t make any sense. His demeanor suggests anything but the fact that he wants to focus on his sexuality. He repeatedly said he wants his focus to be on football. Will the media focus on his sexuality? Of course. He’s going to be the first openly gay player in the NFL. That will be an historic achievement. Think about the bigger picture here, a big step in the right direction for greater acceptance and equal rights in society.

  • v. torres

    who cares if he is gay? if he is black or anything but a person? homosexsuals like this man are hungry for publicity th as all . His sexual preference is a safety net so if he does not get picked he will cry descrimination.

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