Michael Sam's father having trouble accepting son is gay

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after his team defeated Indiana 45-28 in...

Missouri Tigers defensive lineman Michael Sam (52) reacts after his team defeated Indiana 45-28 in Bloomington, Ind., on Sept. 21, 2013. (Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)

The Sports Xchange

, Last Updated: 10:23 PM ET

Even as reaction by the NFL and teams to Michael Sam's coming out is being monitored and criticized, his own father is apparently shocked and devastated by the news, according to the New York Times.

Sam mostly received an outpouring of support from around the country since announcing that he is gay.

Sam revealed to his Missouri teammates he is gay last August, but he didn't disclose his sexual orientation to his parents until last week. On Sunday, in interviews with ESPN's "Outside The Lines," the New York Times and Outsports, he announced that he is gay.

Michael Sam Sr. told The New York Times that he received the news last Tuesday when his son wrote in a text, "Dad, I'm gay."

Sam's father 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. described himself as "old-school," saying the idea of a gay player in the NFL bothers him, but he 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. This is just one he has to cross," Sam Sr. told the Times.

Sam, an All-America defensive end, led the SEC with 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss last season.

Sports Illustrated and themmqb.com, citing multiple league general managers, reported that Sam's projected draft stock would drop significantly because of his announcement.

Sam is currently the No. 110-rated prospect by NFLDraftScout.com, projected to be a third- or fourth-round draft pick.

NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith called anonymous critics of Sam "gutless" for indicating his draft stock would drop by announcing that he is gay.

Sam told ESPN that his decision to come out seemed easy compared to the tragedy he has had to endure growing up in Hitchcock, Texas.

"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."

On Sunday, the defensive end told ESPN that his parents, who are no longer together, took the news well, which contradicts the comments from his father to the Times.

"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."

The Times reported that when Sam returns to his hometown he usually stays with friends instead of his family.

"I'm closer to my friends than I am to my family," Sam told the newspaper.


Videos

Photos