Earlier this week, Michael Sam came out publicly with the news that he is gay. When asked about his parents' reaction to the news during an interview with ESPN, Sam said, "I told my mom and dad last week, and they just pretty much said, 'We knew and we love you and support you,' " he said. "I'm their baby boy. I'm the first to go to college. I'm the first to graduate college. Something like this is just another milestone."
Sam told his Missouri teammates back in August, but he didn't disclose his sexual orientation to his parents until last week. On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Michael Sam Sr. is struggling with his son's announcement. Michael Sam Sr. told the New York Times that he received the news last Tuesday after his son sent him a text that said: "Dad, I'm gay."
Sam's father said he was eating at a Denny's restaurant when he got the text but he couldn't finish his meal after he read it.
"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," didn't mince his words when he told the newspaper, "I'm a man-and-a-woman type of guy." He also boasted about taking his son to Mexico to lose his virginity, the Times reports.
The idea of a gay player in the NFL bothers Sam Sr., even if that player is his son. Sam Sr. believes that Deacon Jones, the Hall of Fame defensive end known for his fearsome play, "is turning over in his grave" after his son's announcement.
Sam Jr. said in his Sunday interview with ESPN that he, too, knows something about being brave.
"I endured so much in my past: seeing my older brother killed from a gunshot wound, not knowing that my oldest sister died when she was a baby and I never got the chance to meet her," he said. "My second-oldest brother went missing in 1998, and me and my little sister were the last ones to see him … my other two brothers have been in and out of jail since eighth grade, currently both in jail.
"Telling the world I'm gay is nothing compared to that."
Sam Sr. told the newspaper that he loves his son and hopes he makes it into the NFL.
"As a black man, we have so many hurdles to cross," Sam Sr. told the Times. "This is just one he has to cross."
Read more at the New York Times.