POLITICS
07/10/2014 10:58 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

Peter LaBarbera Pens Open Letter To Michael Sam, Suggesting NFL Player Seek 'Ex-Gay' Therapy

ASSOCIATED PRESS

The NFL's Michael Sam graces the cover of August's Out magazine with an intimate interview and sexy photo spread, but one of the nation's most infamously anti-gay pundits isn't having any of it.

Peter LaBarbera of the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH) penned an open letter to Sam, suggesting that the St. Louis Rams' defensive end seek out reparative, or "ex-gay," therapy.

"Michael, do we have to tell you that, especially with your current publicity, you are a role model because of your athletic prowess, but since 'coming out' you are also modeling a lifestyle that the cost for those living it, has been unpublicized but appalling -- as it has for society," LaBarbera writes in the letter, which appears on AFTAH's website.

"Believe it or not, no one is born 'gay,'" he continues. "Molestation, emotional deprivation, parental or peer rejection, or other traumatic factors can foster same-sex attraction -- but many men and women have managed it, diminished it, or eliminated it altogether."

He then concludes, "Your achievements on the football field will earn you a legacy you can be proud of; your 'coming out' as one celebrating homosexuality as normative can earn you only regret, as well as notoriety among millions of us."

You can read LaBarbera's open letter in full here.

The first openly gay player ever to be selected in the NFL Draft, Sam signed a rookie contract with the St. Louis Rams in June.

Prior to that, LaBarbera slammed Sam in an interview with Voice of Christian Youth America's Vic Eliason, saying the former Missouri defensive lineman and first-team All-American was "deluded" and must "become an ex-gay, an ex-homosexual.”

"God does not give homosexuality as part of who you are," LaBarbera noted at the time. "I think that’s the saddest thing of all, to think that sexual sin is part of who you are. We need to pray that the Lord will touch him, he will be sought out by Christians in the NFL."

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