Michael Sam took a few calculated steps before announcing to the world that he was entering the NFL and it’s draft selection process as an openly gay man.
One of the steps was Sam sitting down with several professional athletes who are either gay, or advocate seriously for civil rights. Among those in a group who were assembled to counsel Sam included NBA player Jason Collins, NFL punter Chris Kluwe, David Kopay, Billy Bean and Brendon Ayanbadejo.
“I could go on campus and go around local gay bars in Columbia and not worry about anybody judging me,” Sam told Ayanbadejo. “Prior to coming out, I would be in a local restaurant with my boyfriend and coaches would come in and I would feel insecure and want to sneak out.”
Pro Football Talk is reporting that Ayanbadejo was so moved by Sam’s announcement, that he compared the All American to the likes of the great Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks.
In a first-person column written for FOXSports.com, Ayanbadejo compared Sam to Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks from a social standpoint, but also cited the football component.
Ayanbadejo pointed to the fact Sam had 3.5 sacks as a junior, but 11.5 as a senior after telling his teammates he was gay last August.