Michael Sam’s father isn’t as enthusiastic about his son coming out as the first openly gay NFL prospect as his teammates, coaches and Michael himself is. Sam came out to his teammates last August, but Michael’s parents weren’t let in on Sam’s secret until his birthday last Tuesday. And from the sound of it, his father is still coping.
Sam's father took the news hard. He said he was eating at a Denny's restaurant but had to leave after receiving the text.
"I couldn't eat no more, so I went to Applebee's to have drinks," Sam Sr. told the newspaper. "I don't want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment."
Sam Sr., who described himself as "old-school," told the newspaper the idea of a gay player in the NFL bothers him, even when that person could be his own son.
He told the newspaper that late Hall of Famer Deacon Jones, the leader of the Rams' Fearsome Foursome who is credited with terming the word sack, "is turning over in his grave."
He told the newspaper, however, that he loves his son and hopes he makes it into the NFL.
"As a black man, we have so many hurdles to cross. This is just one he has to cross," Sam Sr. told The Times.
Hopefully, Sam and his father can see eye to eye again, but this is what happens sometimes when young men come out. Sam didn’t just risk getting alienated by his teammates. He risked the relationships with his mother and especially his father. If Sam’s own father can’t deal with the idea of a gay player in the NFL, that’s just a sample of the reactions Sam will face from fans. His father’s Deacon Jones reference came out of the blue in this context and leaving Dennys for Applebees was just plain odd, but hopefully he comes around.