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ST. LOUIS (AP) — Michael Sam says in a TV documentary airing Saturday night that coming out as gay was the right thing to do.
The Oprah Winfrey Network said in a release that the 90-minute program followed by a one-on-one with Winfrey and Sam was the player’s first TV appearance since being cut by the Dallas Cowboys in mid-October. After one day of filming last spring, the Rams pulled the plug on the network’s plans for a Sam documentary during training camp.
In a transcript released by the network, Sam called the NFL draft “the longest three days of my life.” The St. Louis Rams drafted Sam late in the seventh round.
Sam said the reassuring hand of his boyfriend, Vito, on his shoulder during the wait to get picked affirmed the decision last February to reveal his sexual orientation. Sam, a defensive end who was the SEC co-defensive player of the year.
“In that moment, I was like ‘I don’t care what happens. I made the right choice to come out,'” Sam said.
In a voiceover promo for the show, Winfrey questions whether Sam got a fair shot. Sam kissed his boyfriend as a national television audience looked on.
“Some say the kiss, the cake, it was all just too much,” Winfrey said. “Some say he wasn’t good enough. Others say he should have never come out.”
The Rams made Sam, the co-defensive player of the year at Missouri, the 249th overall pick out of 256 in the draft. He was among 21 players waived by the team to reach the 53-player limit before the season opener.
Echoing his remarks after drafting Sam with the 249th overall pick out of 256, coach Jeff Fisher said several times it was purely a football decision. The Rams were well-stocked with pass rushers, and undrafted Ethan Westbrooks grabbed the final defensive end spot.
“I will tell you this: I was pulling for Mike,” Fisher said then. “I really was, and I don’t say that very often. Mike came in here and did everything we asked him to do.”
On Twitter, roughly an hour after he was cut, Sam thanked the Rams and the city of St. Louis. He also wrote “The most worthwhile things in life rarely come easy, this is a lesson I’ve always known. The journey continues.”
Sam spent seven weeks on the Cowboys’ practice squad before being released and is a free agent.
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