By Alyse Kaminski
Tuesday, September 26, 2017 marks the beginning of Penn State SPA’s Distinguished Speakers Series with a visit from Michael Sam. The event will take place at 8 p.m. in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Heritage Hall.
In 2014, Sam came out as gay during his time as a football player for the University of Missouri. He was also the first openly gay man to be drafted to the NFL when selected by the St. Louis Rams. Although his career in the NFL did not last long, he made strides that had not been completed before.
Sam has also been a voice for LGBT African Americans. He brought attention to racism within the LGBT community in 2016 when he spoke with Attitude. In his interview, he said, “It’s terrible. People have told me I’m not gay enough, people have told me I’m not black enough. I don’t know what that means. You want to be accepted by other people but you don’t even accept someone just because of the colour of their skin? I just don’t understand that at all.”
After struggling to officially sign with an NFL team, he took to the Canadian Football League to play with the Montreal Alouettes, making him the first openly gay man to play in the CFL. 2015 marked the end of Sam’s professional football career, after citing mental health issues as his reason for stepping out of the game.
Despite this, Sam remains a prominent figure in both the football and LGBT communities, combining two facets that, before, seemed an unlikely pairing.
Sam’s highly anticipated visit will take place on September 26, 2017 at 8 p.m. in the HUB-Robeson Center’s Heritage Hall.
Feature Image Credit: Penn State