Michael Sam’s Father: Mixed Emotions on Son’s Coming Out
While a number of football players and National Football League officials lauded NFL prospect Michael Sam when he came out on Sunday, the athlete’s own father may not be as accepting.
The New York Times published a background piece Tuesday on Sam’s life growing up in Missouri. Sam, 24, says his upbringing was tough and it was difficult for him to tell his family he is gay, especially his father, Michael Sam Sr.
According to the article, last Tuesday, Sam Sr. was at a Denny’s outside of his home in Dallas to celebrate his birthday when his son texted him: "Dad, I’m gay."
Sam Sr. said the party stopped after he read the text message.
"I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks," Sam Sr. told the NYT. "I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment."
He added that he is "old school" and, a "man-and-woman type of guy," saying that he even took his older son to Mexico to lose his virginity.
When Sam made his groundbreaking announcement to the media on Sunday, his father was still coming to terms with his son’s sexuality. Nevertheless, he told the NYT he still loves his son and hopes he makes it to the NFL.
"As a black man, we have so many hurdles to cross," he said. "This is just one he has to cross."
Like some other athletes and NFL officials, Sam’s father said he has some reservations about an openly gay pro-football player, even if it’s his son.
Sam Sr. also spoke with Fox News Sports about his son’s coming out, saying he was "shocked" but "proud."
The rest of Sam’s family found out with the rest of the world. His sister, Geraldine, told Fox, "I don’t think anyone in my family knew," adding, "He’s made history. He really has made history and I’m really proud of him."