Michael Sam's decision to leave football has been all over the news. Sam announced that he was leaving football for "mental health reasons." In 2014, Michael Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by the NFL. He was eventually cut by the Rams and spent time on the Cowboys practice squad before signing with the CFL's Montreal Alouettes. Unfortunately, Michael Sam has had plenty of reasons in his past to have mental health issues.
One of those is his brother, Julian Michael Sam.
By any measure, Michael Sam has had his share of family tragedies. He had seven siblings: one sister drowned before he was born, a brother was shot and killed at 15, and two other brothers are in jail. And Julian Sam went missing on October 16, 1998. Michael Sam was 8-years-old when Julian left the family home in La Marque, Texas, to buy tickets to the homecoming football game. He had just been paid and carried $200 in cash. He sometimes spent the night at the homes of friends, but according to Sam's family, he never went a day without contacting family. His case is officially classifed as an endangered runaway, but his family believes he was killed. Like his brother, Julian Michael Sam liked sports and was known as a talented baseball player. And while there is no hard evidence that Julian Sam is deceased, 17 years of silence speaks volumes. It can't be argued that Julian Sam doesn't know his family is looking for him; the waves of publicity his brother Michael created make it very clear he would know that if he was still alive. The sole hope the publicity gives is the possibility that someone will see it and realize they know what happened to Julian Michael Sam.
Michael Sam has said before that his childhood made him tough. That's certainly true, but his background has put a great deal of weight on him and it wouldn't take much to break the camel's back.
At the time of his disappearance, Julian Michael Sam was 16-years-old. He is a black male who was born on June 17, 1982. He has black hair and brown eyes and was 5 feet 4 inches in height and weighed 130 pounds. He was wearing a white T-shirt, blue jeans and blue/black sneakers. He is left-handed and his nicknames are "Pick" and "Ice Pick." If you have any information as to the whereabouts of Julian Michael Sam, please contact the La Marque Police Department at 409-938-9269.
[Left photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images, right photo via NCMEC]