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.