Former NFL player Michael Sam, who had been estranged from his father since coming out as gay in February 2014, tweeted this week that the two have spoken for the first time since then. (Photo: Getty Images)
When former NFL player Michael Sam announced to the world that he was gay back in February 2014, he was largely praised for his bravery and honesty by fellow players, various celebrities, the NFL, and ESPN — pretty much everyone, it seemed, except his father, Michael Sam Sr., who was quoted at the time as saying, “I’m old school. I’m a man-and-a-woman type of guy.”
Shortly after, Sam discussed his estrangement from his dad during a segment of Dancing With the Stars, while he was a contestant. “When I first came out, it was all over the press,” he said. “What people don’t know is it cost me my relationship with my father.”
But this week it appears as if the 18-month rift has come to an end.
“First time chatting with my dad since February 2014!!! #love #forgiveness #refocus #nextstop,” Sam tweeted on Thursday to his 206,000 followers. The post came nearly a week after he announced he was taking a break from his current position as a defensive end with the Canadian Football League’s Montreal Alouettes for “mental health” reasons. And perhaps it’s a sign that he’s already experiencing healing in his personal life, which has been filled with ups and downs since his childhood.
Sam and ex-boyfriend Vito Cammisano. (Photo: Corbis Images)
The athlete’s parents had a rocky on-again-off-again relationship. (They were married and divorced twice). Two brothers wound up in jail, two siblings died —a sister drowned at age 2; a brother was shot and killed at 15 — and a third brother has been missing since 1998. After his father’s public criticism of his sexuality, Sam said, “I called him, and I said, ‘You lost another son again, by what you said.’ And I haven’t talked to him since.”
In the months following, he quickly became an LGBT role model, speaking out about his life and making frequent public appearances with his now ex-fiancé Vito Cammisano. And Sam Sr., meanwhile, spoke out in support of his son.
“I was shocked,” he told Fox Sports in 2014 of his son’s coming out. But, he added, “I’m proud of him. He’s my son.” His sister, Geraldine…