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Sheldon Richardson speaks about former roommate Michael Sam’s decision

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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.”

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44 Responses to “Sheldon Richardson speaks about former roommate Michael Sam’s decision”
  1. fdugrad says: Feb 12, 2014 4:32 AM

    You’re a good man for having your teammate’s back publicly Sheldon

  2. defscottyb says: Feb 12, 2014 4:36 AM

    If he ever gets cut there will be a discrimination lawsuit against the team guaranteed.

  3. harryglyphics says: Feb 12, 2014 4:54 AM

    I’m missing something here.

    Everybody in college–and therefore presumably everybody in the NFl–knew that this guy is gay.
    So why all the public gesturing?
    What’s the point?

  4. amgdds says: Feb 12, 2014 5:31 AM

    Now an even bigger fan of Richardson.

  5. vaughnjoe says: Feb 12, 2014 5:53 AM

    I really really really love this topic cant you tell? Thanks again Goodell. You are always and forever thee worst commish!

  6. 2ruefan says: Feb 12, 2014 5:53 AM

    Again….circular logic. “the NFL should get over it, it has nothing to do with him playing on the field”…
    If that is true than why bring it up then?

  7. daaabears says: Feb 12, 2014 6:01 AM

    This statement from a former roomate is huge (or at least it should be).

  8. zeke2517 says: Feb 12, 2014 6:07 AM

    I, for one, think we should make a big deal about this. Giving a crap about who someone who isn’t us is attracted to makes us normal.

    Derrrr…

  9. marauder6 says: Feb 12, 2014 6:34 AM

    THAT is what the NFL SHOULD be about. Football and nothing else.

  10. hellajets says: Feb 12, 2014 6:35 AM

    Let the guy play sports, partake in team functions but we must allow another space for him to shower off so we protect his rights, I assume this is how it should go? Please clarify as I am old timer so is new political program.

  11. rwhite84 says: Feb 12, 2014 6:41 AM

    “It was a little unusual at first.” “It wasn’t anything unusual” Make up your mind lol.

  12. jimjets says: Feb 12, 2014 7:08 AM

    Thank god one of my guys didn’t say something stupid about this !

  13. fievel03 says: Feb 12, 2014 7:27 AM

    Now THAT is an endorsement.

  14. xxsweepthelegxx says: Feb 12, 2014 7:58 AM

    This is great to hear from Sheldon….seems like a good guy himself. He went into some detail that he didn’t have to in really painting a good picture of Michael.

    Good luck to both men. Sheldon is already well on his way and hopefully he paved an easier path for Mr Sam

  15. brianc34 says: Feb 12, 2014 8:07 AM

    Praise Michael Sam for coming out gay but bash Yim Tebow for coming out Christian? Weird, huh? Not saint to bash the gay player, let’s praise both.

  16. jetfanfolife says: Feb 12, 2014 8:12 AM

    In other words…Welcome to The Jets!

    J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!

  17. ctiggs says: Feb 12, 2014 8:18 AM

    Just dont pass out around him.

    - Sheldon Richardson

  18. titansbro says: Feb 12, 2014 8:20 AM

    If any of his potential new teammates say anything to him, well he’s bigger than 80% of them so they better watch what exactly they say. The dude is a nasty individual on the field & I’m sure he’d be willing to channel some of that nastiness towards any intolerant moron who had the gall to say something outta line. Set that locker room straight real quick.

  19. cedarstrength says: Feb 12, 2014 8:34 AM

    I hope that this does not impact his status in the NFL draft or his career. I guess we are about to see what the NFL is made of. Personally I think that the majority of players will not mind, and will be able to keep the rest of the locker room at bay. Bottom line is if the guy can help you win, then he is a guy you want on your team.

  20. garyhd01 says: Feb 12, 2014 8:44 AM

    if there is one way it may get easier at the next level is the wont be rooming with another player he will go HOME after practice and games and sheldon while he didn’t have a problem it had to be a bit strange to bring a woman to his room.

  21. nizzledizzleshizzle says: Feb 12, 2014 8:51 AM

    He certainly seems like a real beast on the field. Come to the Ravens!!

  22. busterhighmann says: Feb 12, 2014 8:53 AM

    Straight up booty killer.

  23. thestrategyexpert says: Feb 12, 2014 9:02 AM

    He’s talking like there won’t be a problem UNLESS it’s a person who is crazy, but we weren’t anticipating any non-crazy people to also have a problem with him, so no kidding. So what do we do or talk about with regards to the crazy, that’s the whole story! Sheldon left it off the table to talk about like as if it’s not even confirmed if there’s going to be some crazy non-acceptance of Sam, well newsflash Sheldon, there will very likely be some crazy out there!

    How do we handle that crazy or rather how does Sam handle it when faced with it, what is a team and locker room supposed to do in regards to the crazy problem stuff? Forget the IF, let’s assume it exists, what do you have to say IF it does exist, beyond just noting that it’s crazy?

  24. exnavysub says: Feb 12, 2014 9:11 AM

    thestrategyexpert,

    Players know that if they do take issue with having to shower/dress with a gay player, that they will be absolutely destroyed by the media for it. It is a lose-lose for them. They HAVE to deal with it.

    Yet what if there was a female player. Would she HAVE to deal with it? No. She would get her own shower/dressing area. Double standards.

  25. cashtext4all.com says: Feb 12, 2014 9:29 AM

    I wish Michael Sam the best of luck in his career in the NFL. I think people will let him play in do his thing. The only problem I see is the media commotion. Some players will not want to always answer questions about Sam sexuality and would want to keep it football related.

  26. deliveredbysherpa says: Feb 12, 2014 9:31 AM

    A Jet said something smart! Now that is news. Good to hear, Sheldon. I am a fan of one Jet!

  27. nehxas says: Feb 12, 2014 9:33 AM

    Could see him in green and white this May. Jets have the need at OLB where he is projected to move to in the NFL and Rex likes his players to be versatile and play all along the line anyways.

    Sheldon has given his seal of approval and when the Jets took Coples they took to mind what good things former teammate Wilkerson had to say about him. The Jets defensive line are like brothers and if Sheldon can room with the guy he’ll have no problem fitting in.

  28. purplehaze28 says: Feb 12, 2014 9:34 AM

    #42

  29. nflofficeadmin says: Feb 12, 2014 9:37 AM

    Oilers or Packers..

  30. johnnyjagfan says: Feb 12, 2014 9:47 AM

    I’m just proud and totally shocked that the kid came out to a college football team and it didn’t leak. Professional football players could learn from these young men.

  31. annes22 says: Feb 12, 2014 9:48 AM

    Maybe he should go to the Jets and be room mates. Perhaps we wouldn’t have to hear about it 24hrs a day.

  32. mcmccii says: Feb 12, 2014 10:02 AM

    We’ll take him in New Orleans, he’ll fit right in here.

  33. gohometrolls says: Feb 12, 2014 10:19 AM

    Sheldon Richardson has become my favorite player on the NY Jets,he’s looking like a great pick as for Sam hey if he can be effective on the field and not end up on the police blotter what team wouldn’t want the kid on their team.

  34. sosuhme says: Feb 12, 2014 10:22 AM

    What I don’t understand about this whole showering with a gay guy thing is the idea that NFL players still shower fully naked with each other. At my gym, and most other gyms today, private showers are provided so I don’t have to be naked in front of the closeted married guys who like to linger in the locker room and shower area. It is beyond me why an NFL locker room would not provide similar privacy.

  35. mjdkid100 says: Feb 12, 2014 10:27 AM

    Stop making me like Jet player Sheldon.

  36. mjdkid100 says: Feb 12, 2014 10:32 AM

    My favorite part of this is most of the hateful posts are almost unreadable due to their ignorance and grammar mistakes. Nice work morons.

  37. phinatic29 says: Feb 12, 2014 10:42 AM

    i understand why Sam made it public, so the scouts and potential employers would know up front. And he didn’t have rumors swirling around the draft process.

    but let’s get past it now. The guy can play football that’s obvious. that’s all that will matter to the team that drafts him.

    i have never heard a negative word about the guy, sounds like high character player.

    but now the media will make it more about his sexuality than is actual football skills, which in a way is a bummer for the kid, because he is a good player.

  38. andymannfl says: Feb 12, 2014 10:45 AM

    defscottyb says:
    Feb 12, 2014 4:36 AM
    If he ever gets cut there will be a discrimination lawsuit against the team guaranteed

    Lol. Yeah, sure. Dude, EVERY player gets cut eventually. And to cut him, they’d have had to draft/sign him to begin with. So they obviously didn’t discriminate then, already knowing what they know. Some posters are hilarious. And stop trying to equate pro sports with “regular” employment.

  39. jbaxt says: Feb 12, 2014 10:56 AM

    So MU had Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Ziggy Hood, Sheldon Richardson, 1st round projection Ealy, and SEC defensive player of the year Sam.

    Note to self, take D lineman from MU.

    Can you imagine if Richardson didn’t go pro last year. With Richardson in the middle with Sam and Ealy on the outside Auburn wouldn’t have gone as wild on them and they might have been national champions.

  40. ghost26 says: Feb 12, 2014 11:29 AM

    ‘jbaxt says:
    Feb 12, 2014 10:56 AM

    So MU had Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Ziggy Hood, Sheldon Richardson, 1st round projection Ealy, and SEC defensive player of the year Sam.

    Note to self, take D lineman from MU.

    Can you imagine if Richardson didn’t go pro last year. With Richardson in the middle with Sam and Ealy on the outside Auburn wouldn’t have gone as wild on them and they might have been national champions.’

    Jbaxt,

    Great point. The talent has been unbelievable at Mizzou.

    The biggest issue w/ Sam as a draft pick is that he’s an undersized DE & he’s not favorably viewed as a potential OLB. However IF he’s an Elvis Dumervil or Dwight Freeney type of player & plays in a 4-3 it won’t matter.

    Nice to read an actual football post btw.

  41. winstonjed44 says: Feb 12, 2014 11:41 AM

    Should this be a big deal in 2014? No. But obviously because of the culture of the NFL it is. Why was it necessary for him to come out publicly if a lot of people already knew, people keep asking? Because the media was going to find out eventually, and someone was going to break the news regardless if Sam wanted it out there or not. At least now he has owned it, and could tell his own story and doesn’t have to fear it getting out. Everyone would love to move on, but this is too big of story for the media to leave it alone.

  42. johnodocks says: Feb 12, 2014 11:56 AM

    andymannfl says:Feb 12, 2014 10:45 AM

    defscottyb says:
    Feb 12, 2014 4:36 AM
    If he ever gets cut there will be a discrimination lawsuit against the team guaranteed

    Lol. Yeah, sure. Dude, EVERY player gets cut eventually. And to cut him, they’d have had to draft/sign him to begin with. So they obviously didn’t discriminate then, already knowing what they know. Some posters are hilarious. And stop trying to equate pro sports with “regular” employment.
    =============================

    Where are you from? People in this country sue over any slight.

    For one, what if the management that makes the decision to cut him is not one that decided to draft him? And with the Browns you could have a whole new management team in place from draft day to cut day.

    For two, Sam’s lawyer could say that once they got him in camp, they decided his sexual preference was too much of a distraction and that’s why they cut him.

  43. dolphins512 says: Feb 12, 2014 12:02 PM

    Not a big fan of Richardson or the Jets….but this was a classy statement and nice to see….

  44. JackedUpSports says: Feb 12, 2014 1:02 PM

    spoken like a true pro, sheldon. most definitely!

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