Michael Sam Quits Football, Citing Mental Health Issues Following His ‘Coming Out’

Openly gay Michael Sam is quitting football, which might come as a surprise to fans who might have been expecting him to improve with time. The Alouettes’ first game with him didn’t show much promise, and his having recently come out of the proverbial closet might have harmed his reputation before he could earn one.

Football is one of those sports where fans often expect their athletes to be tough straight men. Though it could be joked that it’s a sport where men in tights tackle each other in the grass, that’s not the common mental picture.

Michael Sam almost broke that line of reasoning when he had trouble tackling in the one game he played. He had even been fooled, said International Business Times, and failed to stop the opposing team from scoring a touchdown.

What Michael Sam claims made him quit was his need to deal with mental health issues, which could explain why he had trouble performing basic tasks on the field in his first professional game. Coming out as gay to his teammates probably wasn’t what drove him to that point, as he had previously done so at the University of Missouri and received a great degree of support from his teammates. Sadly, the sentiment wasn’t shared by Westboro Baptist Church and several possibly homophobic football fans.

When Michael was with the University of Missouri, he had earned a reputation for his defensive game. He had won several awards and accolades and frequently started on the varsity team in his senior year. When he’d made the transition to professional football with the Alouettes, something was wrong. Michael Sam had almost quit on his teammates and taken two weeks away from their training camp, citing personal reasons.

It is unknown exactly what the mental health issues are that caused Michael Sam to quit football. If he ever returns, the fans can only hope that he’s back to his college performance level and can tackle his way past the homophobia which may have contributed to his problem.

[Image via Ed Zurga / Getty Images]