Michael Sam appears on cover of Out magazine, talks about his relationship


(Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

St. Louis Rams defensive Michael Sam has yet to play in an NFL game, but his chiseled visage has already gotten widespread media attention. That’s because the seventh-round pick made history as the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL. And now Sam’s on the August cover of Out magazine to talk about his journey.

The interview, called “Michael Sam and the Draw That Changed American Sports Forever,” didn’t start off as the author for the LGBT magazine had planned. Christopher Glazek writes:

The first 15 minutes of the interview were excruciating. Sam refused to make eye contact with me. His answers were curt and nonrevealing. What was college like? “It’s a normal school.” How did you like living in Columbia, Mo.? “It’s a normal town.” He delivered his responses as rebuttals, swatting away my questions as if blocking kicks from a tedious adversary.

But things changed after that when Glazek revealed his own sexuality. He continues:

“I’m sorry about before,” [Sam said]. “I just thought you were some reporter after a story. Some of those guys are vultures.” Sam may not have an effective gaydar, but he had a keenly developed sense of kinship. His entire adult life had been dominated by teams and, evidently, a binary vision of friend or foe. All it took was the word “boyfriend” for him to switch from lion to lamb, and to become not only cooperative but downright solicitous. “Have you still not gotten your tea?” he fretted. I hadn’t. He hounded the waiter and obtained my tea, but he was still worried. “Are you sure you don’t want lemon and honey?” He was a strong advocate for lemon and of honey.

After that, the interview coasts over the defensive end’s love of football, as well as his history with boyfriend Vito Cammisano, to whom the world was introduced during Sam’s memorable post-draft celebration kiss. Sam tells Out when the two first met both were in the closet. More interestingly, Cammisano, a star swimmer at the University of Missouri, was rude to him. “We didn’t start off as huge fans of each other,” Sam tells Out magazine. “We didn’t speak again for two years.”

Just like the tone of the Out interview, however, things changed later when Sam found out who Cammisano really was. Glazek writes:

By the time they were reintroduced by a mutual friend during Sam’s junior year, Cammisano had come out as gay. Sam, though, was still in the closet. One night, the trio went out together to a bar. “I could see he was interested,” Sam said. “I bought him a couple of drinks, got us tipsy. Toward the end of the night, I put my arm around him, and it was over.” The two started dating, but Sam was concerned about his teammates finding out. “Everyone knew Vito was gay, so we couldn’t even be seen together. There was a lot of climbing out of windows.” Eventually, the two split. As time went on, though, Sam grew more comfortable with being gay and the couple got back together before Sam’s senior year. This time they made no efforts to hide their relationship, and Sam decided it was time to formally come out to his team. “Vito was really the person who showed me I had to do it,” Sam said. “I wanted us to be comfortable.”

And while it’s great that Sam is comfortable to share his personal life with the world, Rams fans hope he shows that same level of comfort on the football field. Sam officially signed with the Rams last month with a four-year, $2.65 million deal, Fox Sports reported.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne · July 9