Going before the press for the first time since he was drafted by the St. Louis Rams over the weekend, Michael Sam largely downplayed the significance of becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL.
“I guess it’s great — I don’t know what you want me to say,” he laughed when asked how it felt. He added that he had “no idea” whether his sexuality had an impact on his draft status, but was happy to eventually be drafted.
“I understand now that you guys want to make a big deal of [my sexuality],” he said, adding that he looks forward to moving on.
Sam stayed away from going in to too much detail on questions about potential political and social activism, stating that while he supports “all equality,” beyond just gay rights, he is more focused on football. For example, when asked about the fact that Missouri has no state law prohibiting employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, he said he found that disappointing, but said, “I can’t really do anything about” it.
Sam thanked the Rams for selecting him with the 249th pick in the draft, one of the last remaining picks in the final round. “They see good potential in people, and they’re ready to win a championship and I hope I’m a part of this team to win a championship,” he said, noting that the team was a fitting destination: His first game while at the University of Missouri was in the Rams’ home stadium, the Edward Jones Dome.