By Annie Hollenbeck
Originally published on Advocate.com August 10 2014 8:21 AM ET
Since coming out publicly earlier this year, Michael Sam has been praised by a wide variety of social media supporters, as well as celebrities. Now, another celebrity has sung Sam’s praises — football fan and What If star, Daniel Radcliffe.
Radcliffe, who played Allen Ginsberg in the 2013 film Kill Your Darlings, has been a longtime vocal ally of the LGBT community, and even earned the Trevor Project’s Hero Award in 2011. Now the avid American football fan talks Michael Sam, particularly his fall in the NFL draft.
“It’s horrendous that he slipped to 249 after being the SEC defensive player of the year,” he said to Out. “People can say whatever they like about his athleticism, or not fitting the bill for certain conditions or whatever, but the fact is no player in the last six years to win that award has been drafted lower than 16th overall, I think.” (Jarvis Jones, who won the award prior to Sam was actually drafted 17th overall, but prior to Jones, the previous five recipients all went in the top 8. In fact, one would have to look back to 2005 to find an SEC defensive player of the year not drafted in the first round.)
Despite the media attention (something Radcliffe is no stranger to), the 25-year-old actor said he is impressed with how well Sam has carried himself in front of the camera.
“In interviews, at no point does he allow himself to be portrayed as a victim or someone who deserves extra sympathy," Radcliffe says. "He’s brilliant at shutting that down.”
Sam made headlines on Draft Day a second time when he modestly kissed his boyfriend on camera after learning he had been selected by the Rams. In his defense, Radcliffe calls out the hypocrisy of those who say they support Sam, but reacted unfavorably to the kiss.
“My favorite comments online were the ones that said, ‘I don’t mind him being gay, but I don’t want to see him kiss his boyfriend.’ Well, you kinda do mind, then… Hopefully Michael Sam’s taking the plunge for everyone who will come after him.”