During an interview Tuesday with SNY’s Jeané Coakley, New York Jets defensive tackle and reigning NFL defensive rookie of the year Sheldon Richardson revealed that he and Michael Sam were roommates when the two were teammates at the University of Missouri in 2012.
Sam of course revealed to the world that he’s an openly gay man after revealing it to his former Missouri teammates last summer.
Richardson and Sam were teammates at Missouri in 2011-12, and while Richardson said Sam never discussed his sexuality with him, he also said he “knew,” adding, “You saw him.”
According to Richardson, Sam’s sexuality never mattered. Richardson referred to Sam as “my guy” and “my homeboy.”
“A regular guy,” Richardson said of Sam. “Hey, he has his own sexuality. Didn’t take nothing from him. He was a great teammate, great person. Everything you wanted out of Michael Sam, you got out of him.”
Richardson answered yes when asked if there was a place in the NFL for Sam.
Most definitely—unless your team is immature-minded,” Richardson said. “If guys can’t get past that, man, it’s just crazy. Of course it might be just weird at first for you if you’re not used to it. Promise you, sexuality has nothing to do with him being on the football field. He’s a completely different person, he put this face on, no smiles. He’s serious business. He’s a killer.”
Richardson said he was proud of Sam for coming out. He even suggested Sam may have been burdened by having kept his sexuality a secret for so long.
“He had his best season when he came out to the team, so I’m actually happy for him,” Richardson said. “And it worked out for him, it didn’t go the opposite way, because I know he was scared and nervous, just for him to be himself. Just him getting that monkey off his back was well worth it ’cause he had his best season of football at Mizzou.”