Michael Sam is most likely done with football. The first openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL finds himself with no team in the United States to play for. After walking out on the Montreal Alouettes, there is a possibility he will never play again in Canada as well.
Michael Sam left the Alouettes earlier this year citing concerns over his mental health.
The last 12 months have been very difficult for me, to the point where I became concerned with my mental health. Because of this I am 1/3— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 14, 2015
going to step away from the game at this time. I thank the Alouettes for this opportunity and hope to be back on the field soon. Thank 2/3— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 14, 2015
you all for your understanding and support. 3/3— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) August 14, 2015
This past week it seemed apparent that coming back was not in the cards for him. Sam is back in Missouri in graduate school.
I enrolled in Grad school this Fall to further my education, while I train to get back to football!!!— Michael Sam (@MichaelSamNFL) September 16, 2015
The Kansas City Star caught up with his former college coach, Gary Pinkel. He spoke about a meeting he had with Sam and what they had discussed.
“He came by my office a week or two ago. We talked. We didn’t really talk about the future much. We were just talking about he was still working out and what was going on.”
This begs the question, how does the SEC Defensive Player of the Year find himself out of work just two years removed from college? There is a real possibility that coming out of the closet in such a public way may be the reason, but not necessarily the reason you might think (bigotry or fear). Finally getting his sexuality off his chest may have simply taken his edge.
Before you stop reading and throw this down as just an excuse for a player who didn’t have it, why not read about what the reigning college football championship coach has to say on the matter. Urban Meyer, the Ohio State Buckeye head coach, spoke to the Chronicle Telegram about what he looks for in a recruit in 2012.
“I’ll utilize any form of motivation I can to get guys angry because I love coaching angry teams. There’s nothing like it. There’s nothing like a group of kids that really want to prove someone wrong or prove something to someone. That’s every coach’s dream as opposed to the fat cat that sits back and (says), ‘Hey, we’re good. Don’t worry about it.’”
What more motivation to prove someone wrong would a member of the LGBT community need when playing football? Here are just a few quotes from NFL Players concerning their feelings about playing with a gay teammate.
“I don’t do the gay guys. I don’t do that. We don’t have any gay guys on the team. They gotta get up outta here if they do. Can’t be with that sweet stuff.” – Chris Culliver (2013)
“I would feel disgusted knowing a guy might be starting [sic] at my junk as I changed.” -Anonymous Player leaving comments to the NFL (2014)
Is it possible that Michael Sam had nothing left to prove after being drafted? Whatever reason Michael Sam opted to leave the game, it was not because he couldn’t play at the professional level. What reason do you think he had for leaving?
[Photo by Getty Images/Alberto Rodriguez]