Michael Sam's father struggled with his son's announcement
Although Michael Sam has seen an outpouring of support from friends, teammates and people he doesn't even know after coming out as a gay prospect, there's still one person who struggled with the announcement: Sam's father.
The 24-year-old came out publicly on Sunday, granting interviews to the New York Times and ESPN (see bottom of post for both of the exclusive videos) . He said he wanted to take control of his story; after all, he is poised to be the first openly gay football player in the NFL.
In a separate Times article, 55-year-old Michael Sam, Sr. said he found out about his son's sexual orientation just before most of us did. He got a short text message last week that read 'dad, I'm gay.'
In the article, Sam Sr., who describes himself as 'old-school' and a 'man-and-a-woman type of guy,' told the newspaper that he thinks Hall of Famer Deacon Jones is 'turning over in his grave' at the thought of a gay NFL player.
Sam Sr. said he was 'shocked,' but despite his own thoughts about homosexuality, he says he's still proud of his son, calling the decision to come out very 'courageous.'
Sam Sr. also told NBC that Sam can handle basically any criticism or negativity after living through a painful and difficult childhood. Sam's two-year-old sister drowned before he was born, one brother was shot dead at 16, and another brother went missing four years later.
During the younger Sam's interview, he said that he endured so much in his past, 'telling the world I'm gay is nothing after that.'
Sam was a first team All-American and the Southeastern Conference's defensive player of the year last season at Mizzou. The 2014 NFL draft begins in May.
Watch Michael Sam's interview with ESPN:
Watch Michael Sam's exclusive interview with the New York Times: