I don’t know whether this is a story about a man with a severe case of the “poor me’s” or if there is a validity to the claim that the LGBTQ community is a fickle one that will move on to the next rallying point very quickly, abandoning those they once celebrated.
In any event, a few years ago, NFL player Michael Sam became the darling of the LGBTQ community after coming out and kissing his male partner during the 2014 televised football draft pics.
That kiss and admission of homosexuality made Sam a new icon of inspiration in the global gay community. He became a media star overnight, doing primetime press, interviews, and countless magazine features. However, he was also equally scorned by those in our society who are against homosexuality – and especially if it infiltrates one of America’s most “manly” games, football.
After the media blitz that followed Sam’s big gay NFL kiss with his partner, he went on to have a moderate career with the Saint Louis Rams, but then he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys where he ultimately was released without ever playing one game. There is not much information available as to why the Cowboys sidelined him, but that’s when the hard partying and cocaine addiction took front and center in Sam’s life as he explained in an emotional interview with Yahoo News.
Sam’s NFL career unexpectedly came to a screeching halt after the Cowboy’s release, and it seems he was ill-prepared for existing in the “real world” as a former NFL player who never reached the expected level of success. Then add to it the celebrity component; he went from being the famed “poster boy” as the first openly gay player in the NFL, to a life that had spiraled out of control. That demise he claims was further facilitated by a lack of help or support from the same LGBTQ community that once propped him up as a hero.
According to Sam, LGBTQ support all but vanished. He claims to have placed calls to everyone he knew for career help or support, but “no one would give me a job,” he said.
In his further assessment on the matter, Sam emotionally posed a question regarding the alleged LGBTQ abandonment, “Where was the support that I got for coming out? I felt like I was used by everyone.”
I don’t understand what Sam means by this sentiment though. Was he expecting to be “taken care of” by the world indefinitely just because he came out? That’s either naiive or the haze of a drug-fueled existence, or both. Life doesn’t work that way for any of us.
I’m happy to report that Michael Sam today is working on his road to recovery. He is living in a treatment center in Peru and focusing on healing with his family. That said, at the end of the day, none of that will matter if Sam doesn’t come to terms with the fact that life is about choices, and to truly heal we must first own up to the ones we’ve made; good, bad or otherwise, without shifting the blame elsewhere.
This piece is an opinion piece by one Contributing Writer for Instinct Magazine and may not reflect the opinion of the magazine or other Contributing Writers.