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7 Highlights From Michael Sam’s Montreal Alouettes’ Press Conference

7 Highlights From Michael Sam's Montreal Alouettes' Press Conference

Last week it was announced that the first openly gay player to be drafted to the NFL, Michael Sam, will now be playing in the Canadian Football League. Sam has signed a two year rookie contract with the Montreal Alouettes, and made his way to the largest French speaking city outside of Paris this week for a lively press conference where he discussed moving to Canada (it was first time ever being in the country this week), what happened with the NFL, and his responsibility as an LGBT athlete: 

On learning French: “I forgot to say bonjour, by the way … bonjour, good morning. I need to work on my French. I promise you by the time I leave here I’ll probably be speaking fluent just like you guys.”

On comparisons to Jackie Robinson, who started off with the Montreal Royals: “First off, Jackie Robinson was a baseball player, I’m a football player, so that’s a different comparison. But Jackie Robinson, I think African-Americans who look at Jackie Robinson to breaking barriers with race … but I’m just here to play football. I’m not trying to really do anything historic here by being with the Montreal Alouettes. I’m just trying to help the team win some games so we can bring the Grey Cup back home.”

Oh his size and playing style: “Well, my size fits as a pass rusher. I mean, I led my team in preseason in sacks and that was in the NFL. So I’m a pass rusher first off … it doesn’t matter where I’m at, I’m a pass rusher.”

On whether coming out effected whether he was cut from the NFL: “I have no regrets whatsoever. I am happy with what I’ve done in the past year. I’ve helped so many people and given so much inspiration, so I have no regrets whatsoever.”

On his responsibility as a pioneer for LGBT athletes: “When I’m not training I’m doing whatever I can to inspire people and to help people. The moment I came out in February 2014 I done something not even knowing or having intentions of doing. But what is done is done and I’ve set in motion a lot of stuff. So I have a responsibility to handle myself the right way and carry myself the right way so future athletes who may be straight, gay, bisexual, whatever, they can be inspired by what I’m doing. They can be inspired and show respect of the game.”

On whether he would have done anything differently: “The moment when I was comfortable with my sexual orientation was my senior year in college. There was a reason why I came out to my team … it was because I didn’t want to live a life behind the clouds anymore. Eventually it was going to come out anyways, but as I said earlier I have no regrets about my decision. I’m happy with myself, I’m living my life the way I want to live. I’m owning my truth and not a lot of people can say that.”

On Montreal and Canada: “This is my second day in Canada … my first was yesterday…. First off, if you ever see me walking downtown, please stop me and say hello … that’s the first off I want to say. Jim (Popp) and everyone has been telling me a lot about the history of this city and actually this league, the CFL, is older than the NFL. So there’s a lot of historic background. I know the first language is French, so I need to pick up on my French skills real soon. I’ve got a lot of learning to do about this city, I’ve got a lot of learning to do about this country, but I’m excited.”

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