Michael Sam was confident enough to become the first high-level football player to come out as gay, so it’s not too surprising to learn that he was comfortable enough to have a boyfriend while in college.
Though Sam only officially came out to his Missouri football team last August, he says people around campus knew he was gay because he had a boyfriend and didn’t hide it.
“I actually dated someone in college,” Sam told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” in an interview. “I wasn’t hiding it, but I didn’t come out either. And people were just like, ‘OK, Michael Sam is gay.’ I wasn’t hiding my relationship with him, but finally coming out to the team made it official.”
Sam explained what it was like to have a boyfriend in college.
“It was new. It was different. I had never dated a guy before and it was my first time dating a guy. It felt right. I know what I want, I know that I can have a relationship now with a man. We went out in public, we had dinners together, movies, holding hands. I felt comfortable, it felt right. If someone has a problem with it, then they just have to deal with that.”
Sam was also asked in his interview with “Outside the Lines” what it’s like being a gay player in the locker room and whether that would be an issue like some heterosexual players believe. He says locker rooms are professional workplaces and that his sexuality shouldn’t be an issue.
“My teammates accepted me. We showered in the locker rooms together. There was never a problem. It’s a business workplace and we have to act professional. I’ve never been attracted to my teammates because I don’t want that problem. So (the guy) I had a relationship with wasn’t a football player. It was an athlete, but it wasn’t a football player because I didn’t want any problems in the locker room.
“Hopefully it will be the same like my locker room. It’s a workplace. I didn’t have any problems with any scrutiny in my locker room. If you’ve ever been in a Division I or pro locker room, it’s a business place, you want to act professional.”
Though Sam seems to be taking a mature and respectful approach to answering many of the questions about him fitting in in the locker room, there is one thing that bothers him.
“People will talk about the stereotype of gays being in the locker room. To me I think that it’s a little stereotyped that gays are predators. That’s very offensive.”
The good news for him is that it seems like only the minority of players view gay athletes as predators. It seems like many are accepting of someone who is gay, or at least will be indifferent, which would also help him blend in.Google+