6 Times Arthur Ashe Award Winner Michael Sam Proved His Courage

Michael Sam accepted an award in an emotional moment at the ESPYs Wednesday night. Here's six moments it was clear he was the right guy for the award.



3. When He Gave a Smooch to His Boyfriend After Getting Drafted
It was the kiss seen 'ound the world. After getting word that he was drafted in May, Sam was televised gleefully celebrating with his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano. Tons of conservative commentators freaked out about it, but lots of people found it honestly heartwarming.

4. When His Fans Stood by Him
Supporters of gay football player Michael Sam rallied to block the view of picketers from the Westboro Baptist Church during a basketball game that Sam was attending. Sam's supporters — possibly more than 1,000 people — lined up outside the University of Missouri stadium with signs, flags, and T-shirts proclaiming their solidarity. Eventually, Sam's allies went inside for the game, where, during halftime, Missouri's football team was honored for its victory at the Cotton Bowl over Oklahoma State.  

5. When He Stood by His Fans
After he was first drafted by the St. Louis Rams in May, Sam said he was ready to fight to officially make the roster in the fall. And while Sam knows the mantle of the Gay Jackie Robinson is quite heavy, he knows he has to stand up for fans who stand up for him. At his first press conference after being drafted by the Rams, he told the story of a young boy tearfully coming out to his father after Sam was drafted. He said he felt honored by the story and that he is glad to help others feel comfortable with who they are. But he added, "If somebody disowned you, hey, be part of my family. I welcome you. Ram up."

6. When He Signed That Contract
Less than a week before being signed, Michael Sam told a group of reporters after practice, “I’m doing pretty good.” It would appear he was correct. In June, Sam was officially signed by the Rams. He was offered a four-year, $2.65 million contract.