Gay NFL Draft Prospect Michael Sam Received Messages From Closeted Pro Athletes (Video)
"I'm not the only one; there's a lot of us," the Missouri defensive end said on Wednesday's "Good Morning America," where it was announced that he'll receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this year's ESPYs.
Since NFL Draft prospect Michael Sam announced that he's gay, the University of Missouri defensive end has received messages from closeted college and NFL players and other pro athletes, he said on Wednesday's Good Morning America.
"I have gotten messages from college and NFL players and other athletes … about how courageous I was," Sam said in a taped interview that aired on Wednesday's edition of the ABC morning show. "Them, themselves are closeted homosexuals. Yeah, I'm not the only one. There's a lot of us. I heard from a good portion of 'em."
VIDEO: NFL Prospect Michael Sam Says 'I Am a Gay Man and Happy to Be One'
Sam is set to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at this summer's ESPYs, GMA also announced, which Sam called an "honor," adding that he hopes he inspires others to be comfortable with who they are.
"I just feel like because I came out, I was the first one to do it, I could be a beacon for other athletes who may be gay or may be not," he said. "I think I can be a beacon for those people, a light, like 'I can be comfortable in my own skin and be like Michael Sam.' "
Looking ahead to the NFL Draft, which kicks off Thursday night, Sam said he's both nervous and excited and doesn't care which team drafts him, as long as he gets a chance to play in the league.
STORY: NFL Draft Prospect Michael Sam Comes Out; Hollywood, Athletes Applaud His Decision
Sam added that he's not going away and had a message for gay people who don't feel accepted.
"I'm here to stay. Michael Sam is here to stay. I'm not going anywhere," he said. "It's OK if you're gay. If someone disowns you, hey, you can be a part of my family. I will accept you."
Watch Sam's full interview below.