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Missouri’s Michael Sam honored with Arthur Ashe Courage Award

Sheldon Richardson, Michael Sam

Former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam was honored for his courage displayed last season with one of the highest honors out there. Sam was named the recipient of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. The award will be presented to the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year at the 2014 ESPYs later this summer (July 16).

“I’m very honored to be presented with the Arthur Ashe award,” Sam said. “You know I don’t think there is anything courageous I did. I look forward to when we can live life in a world when gays don’t have to come out in public.”

Sam has his sights set on being drafted in the NFL Draft in the next few days. Wherever he ends up, he will be the first openly gay player to suit up in an NFL uniform in league history, breaking down a perceived barrier in sports. Sam revealed his sexuality to his Missouri teammates and coaches last summer, but the news was not broken until after the season thanks to a team decision to stand by Sam and allow him to break the news on his terms instead of having it leaked. That Sam’s sexual preference was kept silent for so long in this age of new media and instant news is an incredible testament to Missouri’s entire football program.

Sam put together one of the top individual performances during the 2013 season in the SEC, as demonstrated by his Defensive Player of the Year award. Sam helped lead Missouri to an SEC East division championship and berth in the SEC Championship Game in the program’s second year in the conference. The Tigers lost to Auburn in the conference title game but rebounded to win the Cotton Bowl against Oklahoma State. Now Sam joins a list of names honored for a variety of displays of courage including Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Billie Jean King and Pat Summitt.

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38 Responses to “Missouri’s Michael Sam honored with Arthur Ashe Courage Award”
  1. overratedgators says: May 7, 2014 1:44 PM

    Well deserved. Brave young man.

  2. peddealer says: May 7, 2014 1:56 PM

    Always a future in gay porn if the NFL doesn’t work out…

  3. kaspauf says: May 7, 2014 2:03 PM

    Pat Tillman, Pat Summit, Dewey Bozella, and Nelson Mandela are just a few who won this great award and deserved it but what has Michael Sam done? I think it is great he came out but so many others have in the past, he isn’t even the first athlete to do so… I just don’t get it honestly, the others mentioned on this list have proven it throughout their lifetime.

  4. tscarlato says: May 7, 2014 2:11 PM

    I think Michael Sam get a bit of credit for coming out before the draft. He basically bet his entire professional career on the notion that the NFL is ready for an openly gay player.

    Now, he should have run faster in his combine and a few other things but right now he’s basically a broke college kid and could have come out after the draft once he has a contract and a pay check. Instead he decided to be honest about it at the risk of losing out on his dream.

  5. donovandancy says: May 7, 2014 2:11 PM

    Yet another person taking awards out of the hands of the deserving, because they chose to be part of the “3 percent”

  6. donovandancy says: May 7, 2014 2:13 PM

    Bull carlato, sam knew he was a 6th rounder and is trying to use this to put pressure on tteams to draft him early.

    All this for a lukewarm nfl scout teamer

  7. djshnooks says: May 7, 2014 3:55 PM

    You people are sick. I hope one of your kids has something wrong with them that sets them apart from all the rest…and when they finally find the courage to stand up against that, and you’re so proud and supportive of them…everyone throws stones at you and your child. Assholes.

    Good for him…he deserves it! I hope he proves all the racist homophobic bastards wrong and makes a name for himself.

  8. orthomarine says: May 7, 2014 4:08 PM


    You watch too much MSNBC

    No one cares he’s gay except the media

    No one wished harm or slandered his race

    He even said his “coming out” was not courageous


  9. kaspauf says: May 7, 2014 4:19 PM

    @DJ: He isn’t the first player to do it, Jason Collins it and I am sorry if you don’t agree with the fact I feel the people I listed who won this award in the past deserve it, he does not. I think it is commendable he came out and I have a lot of respect for that but we live in a day in age where more of this will happen and overcome the odds…. Sam had the support of of his teammates while Bozella sat in jail a good bit of his life for being wrongfully accused and had no anger after he was finally released and lived his dream out, most these people had a lifetime to achieve this. Sam could do more in his life, I am not saying he won’t but just for coming out… others have already and on that premise the guy who was the cover of SI who came out first while still in the sport deserves it more than Sam so get mad all you want but this is the court of public opinion and not everyone will agree with me but I certainly do not agree with you.

  10. pawloosa says: May 7, 2014 4:25 PM

    ???? Really???

    This is news??
    Who cares… Move on…
    Society can tolerate Mikes decision to come out but neither the media nor the govt can ever make us accept it…
    IMO it’s a disgrace to remotely compare Pat Tillman and MS for courage…

  11. 8to80texansblog says: May 7, 2014 4:37 PM

    I don’t think some of you understand what the decision to come out meant for him….

    First off, I’m sure his life was turned upside down for those weeks when that story was in full swing. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to have reporters on your lawn every morning, going through your trash, and dissecting every aspect of your life on national tv.

    Second, he was rated somewhere in the 90’s as a prospect before this and now may go undrafted. A lot of that may have to do with his combine, but I guarantee him coming out of the closet didn’t help his draft stock.

    Lastly, Jason Collins coming out isn’t as significant as Michael Sam. Collins is at the end of his career and while he did play a few games afterwards he’s already made all the money he’s essentially going to make as an NBA player. Michael Sam hasn’t signed his first contract yet. Plus football is a much more high profile sport.

    Now if you want to say that the type and amount of courage it took for Sam to do this isn’t worthy of this award then touché, but to say it took no courage at all is ignorant and misguided.

  12. jonkybon says: May 7, 2014 4:42 PM


    Nelson Mandela earned an honor? How? For what? For praising socialist societies? For putting the US down in every way he could? Or did he earn it when he put tires over the heads of white men and women, fill them with gasoline and set them on fire?

    Mandela was a sick piece of sh^t and is with his hero satan.

  13. doubleogator says: May 7, 2014 4:50 PM

    All I can say is unbelievable, I’m dumbfounded that a person admits he’s gay, and win a prestigious award for courage, I’ll say it again unbelievable…courage is fighting for your country, policemen and doctors saving lives under dire circumstances, etc. not admitting that you are gay!!!

  14. spunhead73 says: May 7, 2014 5:26 PM

    Courage award for living a sinful life? What the hell is wrong with this country?

  15. it's all bs says: May 7, 2014 5:41 PM

    spunhead73 says:
    May 7, 2014 5:26 PM
    Courage award for living a sinful life? What the hell is wrong with this country?


    what sinful life?? U just PROVED why he deserved to win the award…..Good for him…..bigots needs to get over themselves……SHEESH!!!

  16. chachooga says: May 7, 2014 7:16 PM


    Thank you Sir/Mam.

    Lest anyone on CFT think this is overhyped, the chic thing to do, none of anyone’s business, nobody cares, etc….well you are at risk of the auto response from the hate filled ones who call you a racist homophobe.

    I think it’s great Sam did what he felt he should do, I don’t think he is on level with Pat Tillman, Mandela, etc…not even close, I don’t care that he is gay.

    The fact that his declaration has had and will have No negative affect on his career should silence all the hate filled screamers I mentioned above.

  17. thegloriousone says: May 7, 2014 8:51 PM

    I don’t know if it deserved an award, but I’m very happy he came out. It makes his life so much easier.

    He’s not going to have to spend the next 10 years (or however long his career is) showing up to parties alone, pretending to hang out with women in nights club or having to sneak around hoping no cameras catch him with whomever he chooses to spend time with.

    Be yourself, Michael. I don’t know if it was brave, but it had to be a huge relief.

    Good for you.

  18. jonkybon says: May 7, 2014 9:19 PM

    I bet not one of the Mandela lovers has paid income tax in five consecutive years of their lives.

    For the record, Mandela was imprisoned for TERRORISM, not because he was black. Do some research and not believe everything the race bating Kenyan occupying the White House spews!

  19. wareagle1961 says: May 7, 2014 10:09 PM

    Doesn’t matter where he’s drafted …. once the games start, we’ll find out if he’s been worth all the hype and he’ll either flourish or become a self-appointed spokesman for gay athletes

  20. iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says: May 7, 2014 10:37 PM

    Its a shame where someone who forfeited their life for our freedom is put on the same level as someone who came out. What did this guy do? He did not surrender his life for us like Tillman, did not lead a revolution like Mandela, or push open the door for equal rights like Ali, King or Summitt. He came out, good job kid. Maybe we should nominate him for a Presidential Medal of Freedom also. He Totally deserves it!

  21. ksingleton101 says: May 7, 2014 10:38 PM

    I think it takes more courage to lets another man stick is thing in your @ss than it does to admit it. He should get 2.

  22. onbucky96 says: May 8, 2014 12:34 AM

    Whoa, Faux News in the house. Mandela was imprisioned for fighting against apartheid, which is Whites Only policy. No wonder some of you biggots and your Faux News Barbie Anchors spew your trash. Now, “Fair and Balanced”, Sam may get drafted but won’t make a team. He’s a slow ‘tweener, hope he got his degree from Mizzo.

  23. chicksdigthelongballs says: May 8, 2014 12:35 AM

    Takes a lot of “courage” to put a c*ck in your mouth, apparently.
    This once-great country is falling apart by the day.

  24. chicksdigthelongballs says: May 8, 2014 12:37 AM

    4 brave Americans died…
    Obama &Hillary just stood by, then lied…
    & the corrupt liberal media complied.

  25. onbucky96 says: May 8, 2014 12:43 AM

    Pat Tillman served his country, and died for it by friendly fire. Remember how Rumsfeld and Cheney lied to the media about the way he died? Get off your Right Wing horse, both sides are dirty.

  26. atahualpaoxford says: May 8, 2014 12:47 AM

    @%&*$% Sam…!!!!!

  27. jonkybon says: May 8, 2014 7:49 AM

    Whoa, Faux News in the house. Mandela was imprisioned for fighting against apartheid, which is Whites Only policy. No wonder some of you biggots and your Faux News Barbie Anchors spew your trash. Now, “Fair and Balanced”, Sam may get drafted but won’t make a team. He’s a slow ‘tweener, hope he got his degree from Mizzo.

    Oh, so you condone burning people alive because you don’t like the color of their skin. The fact that he stole from his victims to line his own pocket is also forgotten by the libtards. Murdering women and children isn’t fighting for a cause, it’s the terrorism and reason Mandela was imprisoned. He was a thief and a murderer. He was nothing more then scum. If he attacked the government and defended himself against a police state or their military, he would be a “freedom fighter”. HE DIDN’T! Learn some facts!

    Try listening to Armed Forces Radio. It truly is the only fair and unbiased media instead of spewing misinformation that was spoon fed by the libtard media.

  28. 8to80texansblog says: May 8, 2014 10:09 AM

    Y’all seriously need to take this discussion to a Fox News board. The amount of hate and garbage that is being spewed by some of you is ridiculous.

  29. 8to80texansblog says: May 8, 2014 11:18 AM

    And it honestly seems your the one being spoon fed your info by the conservative media.

    The practice of necklacing didn’t begin until the mid 80’s. Mandela was in jail until ’90. His wife Winnie Mandela publicly approved of the practice, but when Mandela was released in ’90 Winnie had become far too militant and he separated from her in’92. Mandela is awarded the Nobel Peace prize in ’93 for his work with new Prime Minister De Klerk to end the township violence between the police and the residents. (De Klerk doesn’t get enough credit for the ending of apartheid as he started the process in 89 before Mandela was even released)

    It is true that before he went to jail in ’64 he led a violent opposition of the Pro Apartheid and racist Afrikaners government who dubbed him a terrorist…. but to be fair the British called the American revolutionaries terrorists too. The line between patriotism and terrorism is very thin and generally falls to the side that the majority feels is more morally correct.

    I read articles on conservative sites, I read the articles linked to the Wikipedia story about necklacing and I read a story about it on PBS. You’re coming with what you heard on a radio station that broadcasts Rush Limbaugh…. Maybe expand your gaze, look at both sides of a story with open eyes and not just “take what is spoon fed to you”

  30. 1historian says: May 8, 2014 12:57 PM

    On the left is NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN and for laughs MSNBC.

    On the right is Fox News.

    That’s 5-1. I can work with that.

  31. jonkybon says: May 8, 2014 2:12 PM


    Everything you stated is what the liberal left claims. Did you bother to actually look at Mandela’s charges or the transcript from his trial? I know you didn’t or you wouldn’t have printed the crap about necklacing. When he and his gangs practiced it, it didn’t have that nice nickname. Just because the practice didn’t have a name, doesn’t mean it wasn’t done. Hell the Arabs did it to Jews since the 40’s.

    Once again, just because you seem to like the libtards media, doesn’t mean I get my news from Fox or Rush. As most Vets, I still get my news from AFR and do research before formulating an opinion. It’s a practice I suggest you try.

    The line crossed by Mandella was when he placed tires and gasoline over the heads of women and children before setting them ablaze. That is directly from the trial transcript, not a liberal altered account.

    By the way; Mandella’s Nobel Prize was as earned as Obama’s. NOT AT ALL!

    You will believe as you will, but many of us know the truth.

  32. 8to80texansblog says: May 8, 2014 3:55 PM

    I’m just wondering where you’re getting your info… I just read quite a few transcripts from the Rivonia trial where Mandela was sentenced to life and there is no mention in what I read about him or any of the defendants murdering anyone with use of a tire and gasoline. It does say, and I quote “The accused deliberately and maliciously plotted and engineered the commission of acts of violence and destruction throughout the country, directed against the offices and homes of municipal officials as well as against all lines and manner of communications.” That is from the transcript of the opening statements of prosecutor Percy Yutar.

    I’ve also read the actual indictment of Nelson Mandela and it makes no mention of this either. He was indicted on charges of sabotage, recruiting and training persons for guerilla warfare for the purpose of overthrowing the government, and preparation and manufacture of explosives.

    I looked in a lot of different places for info, which included quite a few different conservative sites. Not one of the conservative sites I read link Mandela to a specific act of “necklacing” or murder with gasoline and a tire… not one. Many said the act was often carried out in the name of the AFN though, but the KKK carried out plenty of lynchings in the name of god, that doesn’t mean the church or the pope is responsible. Again, his wife, Winnie, approved of the practice but again, she is a different person, and Mandela separated from her not long after his release.

    I’m not saying Mandela was a saint, but nobody’s hands are clean in a revolution. You want to say he promoted communism, he did. You want to say he used violence to further his cause, he did. But you’re over there spouting off nonsense that you heard on some hyper conservative radio show though about him setting children on fire, for which I don’t see any evidence, and I have looked hard. If there is… please show me. But don’t just spew some narrative you heard on the radio full of half truths and faulty connections. Back it up with some references and I’ll shut up.

    And AFR is a widely known conservative news outlet with names like Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly on their airwaves. So let’s stop acting like it’s not biased. It’s about as “Fair and Balanced” as Fox News, or MSNBC for that matter.

    I can understand if you think other news organizations are biased, because they are, they all are… but only listening to the ones you agree with, doesn’t make their opinions true. It does however, further validate your previously held biases.

    And just for the record… I agree with you about Obama’s Nobel Peace prize. He got that award for stopping the war in Iraq well before that war was stopped. It was a popular move at the time, not necessarily right.

  33. iwishwvuwouldbeatbama says: May 8, 2014 4:25 PM

    Its so funny reading everyone argue over politics here. Left or right, people do not seem to understand that they serve the same boss. The elephant and donkey both kneel down to the Federal Reserve Bank, international corporations and old money. The media is controlled by those mentioned above also and they sell this farce to the public. The easiest way to enslave or control the masses is the illusion of freedom! Sure you can pick from Obama or Romney but they both work for the same bosses so whats the point? Change, no we cant…..

  34. gatorprof says: May 8, 2014 5:04 PM

    When I think of what defines courage, something like “congressional medal of honor” winner comes to mind or someone going through some awful medical treatments with a dire prognosis.

    I just think that we have defined down the notion of courage in this country.

  35. 8to80texansblog says: May 8, 2014 5:07 PM

    That’s a very narrow definition of courage.

    “Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation”

  36. 8to80texansblog says: May 8, 2014 5:28 PM

    And @jonkybon here’s the full transcript of the trial if you are so inclined…. It was an 8 month trial so there is more information than I can read today…. but I went through all the indictment files, the prosecution’s main witness testimony and several of the defense witness testimonies. I also went through opening and closing remarks by both sides.

    No mention. So if you can find it in here. Please let me know. I have actually taken quite an interest in this story now.

  37. jonkybon says: May 8, 2014 8:04 PM


    Working on it. This administration has re-classified many documents that were previously available. If it takes a day or a month, I will send you a link in this thread or another.

  38. jonkybon says: May 9, 2014 7:09 AM


    Still working on it. I recall it was the testimony of a child that had been hidden and watched what happened to her parents.

    You must be an amazingly fast reader to go thru all that in less than 3 hours. In the same time period I barely got thru opening remarks.

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