02/16/2014 10:21 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Russell Simmons Praises Michael Sam's Coming Out, Reiterates Support For Gay Marriage

Hip-hop icon Russell Simmons has joined the ever-growing list of celebrities and public figures to praise college football player and NFL prospect Michael Sam, who came out as gay last week.

"Good for him," Simmons told Soledad O'Brien in an exclusive "Talk To Al Jazeera" interview, which is set to air on Sunday, Feb. 16. "Bad for America that he's the first openly gay [player] ... There's a lot of gay football players that will be proud of him and rooting for him -- gay football players, right now, in every locker in almost every team, who are rooting for him, and straight guys like me, rooting for him."

Simmons, who received GLAAD's Excellence in Media Award in honor of his longtime support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in 2011, sounded off once again on same-sex marriage in the interview.

"Gays should get the rights that we want for ourselves," he said. "The respect that we demand for ourselves, we should give to others ... People should have the right to live freely in our society, you know?

O'Brien's full interview with Simmons airs Sunday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m. EST on Al Jazeera America. Head here for more information.


NFL Player Reactions To Michael Sam Coming Out
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