DALLAS — Michael Sam's announcement on Sunday that he plans to become the first openly gay player to play in the National Football League was a statement that drew nothing but support from his aunt in North Texas.
Linda Sam, who lives in Cedar Hill, told us during a phone conversation that she loves him.
"I'm very proud of what he did," Sam said. "It took a lot of courage to do what he did."
Former Texas Tech tight end Jace Amaro, who is preparing for the NFL Combine by working out at EXOS (formerly Athletes' Performance) training center, had similar things to say about Sam.
"I don’t have any problem with that," Amaro said. "It's not a big deal to me. It takes a lot of courage to do that, so props to him and his family. I think that’s a huge deal. We've just got see how it plays out."
A similar feeling was expressed by former Baylor guard Cyril Richardson.
"Even though that's his own personal life choice, still, he's a person who plays football," Richardson said.
Richardson added he would not have a problem if Sam were his teammate.
"We have a goal; we're trying to win games and win championships, and I'm pretty sure that's what he wants to do, too," Richardson said. "Anything else would be put to the side."
New Orleans Saints linebacker Victor Butler, who played for the Dallas Cowboys from 2009 through 2012, said he wasn't aware of Sam's revelation.
"I just heard about it right now," Butler said. "I think all this weekend I was in 'Call of Duty' playing zombies."
But he echoed the thoughts of younger players on the announcement.
"Kudos to him," Butler said. "I'm just one dude. I don’t know what the whole NFL is ready for. Hopefully it doesn't matter. Hopefully it's all about him coming in and being an effective member of somebody's team and helping that organization win a Super Bowl."
Former Kansas running back James Sims of Irving is working out at EXOS in Frisco as well.
"I respect what [Sam] says. It's tough coming out to the media and say what he said. I don’t have any disrespect for him. I applaud him for coming out like that, because it’s hard," Sims said. "You couldn't get another person to come out like that. I respect him for coming out and saying that, and I don't have anything against him for that."