Michael Sam responds to homophobic emails from Jon Gruden
Posted On October 14, 2021
Michael Sam, the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, responded to homophobic emails Jon Gruden wrote and publicly surfaced before Gruden stepped down as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday.
In one of Gruden’s emails – which also included misogynistic and racist language – he used a homophobic term in reference to Sam being drafted in 2014 by the St. Louis Rams.
“It’s unfortunate,” Sam said Wednesday during a webinar hosted by Augusta (Ill.) College, “especially since the first active gay player to play is on the same team.”
Sam was referring to Carl Nassib, a Raiders defensive end who is the first active player in the openly gay NFL. Sam did not make an active NFL roster.
After Nassib publicly revealed in June that he was gay, Gruden told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “I learned a long time ago what makes a man different, this is what makes him great.”
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But Sam, speaking at an event billed as “Courageous Conversation with Michael Sam” and making his first public remarks on Gruden’s emails, said: “So it almost seems like you know how all of the team would rally (Nassib), but again, it almost feels like it was just for the show. So, are you really a part of it or not?
“It’s going in that direction (of acceptance), so if you’re not part of it, you’ve got to find another trade.”
Nassib was excused from the team’s activities by the Raiders on Wednesday after asking for a personal day, Raiders general manager Mike Mayock said.
Sam, who played for Missouri and was named SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year in 2013, said there were closed gay players in the NFL.
“I know guys who fight in the NFL and can’t get out (out),” he said.
When asked how he hopes the NFL would respond to Gruden’s emails, Sam replied, “They’ll definitely crack down on fanaticism like that.”