If defensive end Michael Sam gets drafted by an NFL team in May, he will become the first currently playing professional football player to identify as gay.
In the sit-down with ESPN, he speaks of the hardships he endured as a child and young man. “Telling the world I’m gay is nothing compared to that,” he admitted. “That,” being multiple family traumas including witnessing the death of his older brother from a gunshot wound and having another brother go missing in 1998 while the other two sit in jail.
The NFL has released a message of support, saying they admire his “honesty and courage.”
“Michael is a football player,” the statement read. “Any player with ability and determination can succeed in the NFL. We look forward to welcoming and supporting Michael Sam in 2014.”