Michael Sam: There’s terrible racism in the gay community

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Out NFL star Michael Sam has spoken about the “terrible” levels of racism in the gay community.

Sam, a former defensive tackle, was the first out gay player to be drafted to an NFL team in 2014- and has since had brief spells with the NFL’s St Louis Rams, the Dallas Cowboys, and Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes.

However, he crashed out of the sport citing mental health issues – later  attempting to pursue a reality career before re-enrolling in school.

Speaking in the latest issue of Attitude Magazine, Sam said he had experienced high levels of racism in the gay community since coming out.

He said: “It’s terrible. People have told me I’m not gay enough, people have told me I’m not black enough.

“I don’t know what that means. You want to be accepted by other people but you don’t even accept someone just because of the colour of their skin?

“I just don’t understand that at all. How are you saying that, ‘oh, I want people to accept me because I’m gay but I don’t accept you because you’re black, or because you’re white or because you’re Asian’.”

Of homophobia among African-Americans, he added: “I can only go by my experience and the people I’ve been around. I think it’s more accepting, actually.

“There are a lot of black, openly gay people. A lot of people have [gay] friends, cousins, brothers, sisters… They have at least one openly gay person, at least it’s more accepting, that’s my experience.

“People tell me they have family members who are gay and it doesn’t freak them out and no black person ever freaked out at me, ‘oh you’re gay’. None.

“There are people who are over religious who go, ‘oh, you’re a fag, you’re going to hell.’ That’s everywhere. [Republican hopeful] Ted Cruz is pretty much anti-gay.”

The Rams – the first team to draft Sam – were recently forced to deny that they took him as part of a backroom ‘deal’ with the NFL.