Michael Sam had the biggest coming out story of the last decade when he came out of the closet last year before entering the NFL Draft. And during a recent speech at the HRC’s Time to Thrive Conference in Portland, Oregon, he revealed the point in time when he knew he was gay.
Sam was receiving the Upstander Award and giving an acceptance speech when he spoke about his turbulent NFL career and how important football has been to his life.
“I grew up afraid because the people I was supposed to love, [who were] supposed to have my back, [who were] supposed to tell me that it’s OK I’m here for you — I didn’t have that. I grew up alone,” Sam explained.
“The people who were supposed to be there for me weren’t. I looked to football and sports to be my sanctuary,” he added.
Later on in his speech, Sam revealed that he’d questioned his sexuality as a kid and that being in college allowed him to experiment and confirm that he really is gay.
“When I got to college [I thought] ‘Maybe I will experiment — I will see if maybe I’m not gay. Maybe it’s a phase.’ But you know, after that first time I knew pretty d— sure I didn’t like girls,” Sam shared.
And that’s not all he had to say about life as an openly gay man. Read what he said about his fiancé, Vito Cammisano, after the cut.