Ayanbadejo: Coming out to team made Sam a better player


Prior to Missouri defensive end Michael Sam announcing he was gay last night, he spent the weekend with a number of supporters.

Former Ravens linebacker Brendan Ayanbadejo was among them, and he thinks Sam will be a better NFL player for yesterday’s announcement.

In a first-person column written for FOXSports.com, Ayanbadejo compared Sam to Jackie Robinson and Rosa Parks from a social standpoint, but also cited the  football component.

Ayanbadejo pointed to the fact Sam had 3.5 sacks as a junior, but 11.5 as a senior after telling his teammates he was gay last August.

“I could go on campus and go around local gay bars in Columbia and not worry about anybody judging me,” Sam told Ayanbadejo. “Prior to coming out, I would be in a local restaurant with my boyfriend and coaches would come in and I would feel insecure and want to sneak out.”

Ayanbadejo said he told Sam to worry about football, and let others be the activists. That’s probably an unreasonable expectation, as so much attention will be paid to him wherever he lands.

But if he continues to play well, it will help make his sexual orientation matter less and less.

12 responses to “Ayanbadejo: Coming out to team made Sam a better player

  1. I don’t see why people care what others do in their personal life. If the guy is a good player than he is a good player regardless of what happens off the field. At least legally, ie Aaron Hernandez.

  2. Good for him for being able to come out, I have played sports my whole life, and never really cared about all that off the field stuff, I only cared about winning games.

    I have a hard time accepting that his on field production increased because he came out. Maybe it took some pressure off and allowed him to feel more accepted, but saying he was a better player because of it is something that cant be proven. He may have had the same production increase simply because he gained more experience and it all paid off for him. If he was a 4 year starter, that would be one thing. I dont know his story enough to know. But if his Jr year was his first year as a starter, common sense says the increase in production in year 2 (of being a starter) is simply experience.

    As a fan, I would accept him on my team. And to be honest (I am a Patriots fan), I hope this hurts his draft stock and he slips to the Pats later in the draft (does anyone love value more than Belichick?). This kid can play.

  3. He was projected to go anywhere between the 3rd and 7th rounds before he went public with this. It’s apparent from scouting reports that he’ll need significant development to make a good NFL OLB. The rest is all noise.

  4. ctiggs says:
    Feb 10, 2014 8:14 AM
    All the players will tell him to go make them a SAMmmmich. #goNINERS #NoOnehasitbetter


    If you’re gonna say something that idiotic, please don’t include those hashtags – it makes Niners fans look bad. BTW, if you didn’t watch the playoffs – the Seahawks have it better than us right now.

    P.S. Good luck to Michael Sam. I don’t know that his decision was necessarily a smart one, since I don’t think it does anything to help him in the draft, but it was definitely a brave one. He did what he thought was right and he’ll be able to look back and be much more proud of that than wherever he ends up being drafted.

  5. Kudos to the man for doing the inevitable as almost everyone already knew. But comparing this to Rosa Parks is absolutely ridiculous. Comparing this to civil rights is absurd. Society has gotten a bit crazy comparing race with sexual orientation. Political correctness has gone out of control. People who know better don’t come close to making comparisons between race and sexual orientation. I hope the man has a smooth transition to the NFL. But it seems like nowadays it takes courage to say what is not politically correct.

  6. The only he came out was because it was gonna come out in the background investigation. No way does he or his agent think this will help him. It’s just damage control.

  7. Coming out did not make Sam a better player. Racking up 9 of his 11.5 sacks against hideous teams like Arkansas State, Vanderbilt and Florida did.

  8. As long as I’m not ask to applaud it as a player then I wouldn’t care. It’s your choice, it’s your business. You need to convince God not me. And until that day I’m not going to make fun of that person. Because when that day comes I would have lost a brother and God loses a child. Nothing funny about that!

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