New York Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson knew of Michael Sam’s sexual orientation long before he announced publicly Sunday night that he was gay.
Richardson was roommates with Sam at the University of Missouri. Even before the rest of their Missouri teammates knew of Sam’s sexual preference, Richardson knew.
Richardson spoke about Sam’s public announcement Tuesday night with Jeane Coakley of SNY.
“I lived with Michael Sam, regular guy, has his own sexuality. With me living with him, it was a little unusual at first, but it’s stuff you look past,” Richardson said, via Bob Glauber of Newsday. “It wasn’t anything unusual. He was my guy, my home boy.”
While Richardson moved on to the NFL and earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors with the Jets, Sam remained at Missouri and came out to his teammates before embarking on a stellar season of his own. Sam recorded 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss on his way to co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in the Southeastern Conference.
Richardson said he was happy that Sam came out to his teammates and that he was able to have his best season after making that decision. He added that Sam is a terrific teammate and everything you could want in a football player.
“He was a great teammate, a great person,” Richardson said. “If guys [in the NFL] can’t get past that, then, I mean, it’s just crazy. You wanted a football player, you got the football player. I promise you his sexuality has nothing to do with him playing on the football field. He is a completely different person [on the field]. He puts this face on, no smiles, serious business. He’s a killer.”