Michael Sam may not just have to deal with the potential intolerance of NFL front offices. The first-team All-American defensive lineman from Missouri who publicly came out as gay may also struggle for acceptance at home. Sam's father, Michael Sam Sr., made comments to The New York Times that suggest he isn't completely accepting of his son's sexual orientation.
“I’m old-school,” he told The New York Times. “I’m a man and a woman type of guy.”
In interviews with ESPN and The New York Times on Sunday, the 24-year-old college football standout revealed not only that he is gay but also that he told his teammates before Missouri's stellar 2013 season. Eligible for the 2014 NFL Draft, Sam is poised to become the first openly gay player in the league's history. Unlike his college teammates, Sam's family members were only recently told he is gay.
"I told my mom and dad last week, and they just pretty much said, 'We knew and we love you and support you,'" Sam told ESPN on Sunday. "I'm their baby boy. I'm the first to go to college. I'm the first to graduate college. Something like this is just another milestone."
The account his father subsequently gave to The New York Times sounded a bit different. Sam Sr. said he was celebrating his birthday at a Denny’s near his home in Texas when he received a text from his son that read, "Dad, I’m gay."
“I couldn’t eat no more, so I went to Applebee’s to have drinks,” Sam Sr. told The New York Times. “I don’t want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment."
Despite any initial trouble his father may have in fully embracing his openly gay son, he also has said he is proud of him.
”I was shocked,” Michael, Sr., told FOX Sports of his reaction to his son's announcement. “I’m proud of him. He’s my son.”