*In a recent interview with GQ Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay football player opened up about his childhood and spoke about the volatile relationship he’s had with his older brothers, whom he calls “evil.”
Only a handful of people really know how I was raised. Certain family members weren’t…there. They were ghosts. My brothers were the ones who were there. Most of the time, that was scary. I tried to stay away as much as possible.” Despite leaving the house at dawn and returning after dark, he still got beat up frequently. “We called the cops on my brothers so many times I can’t even count. Not only for hurting me. They’d abuse my sisters. Verbally abuse my mom. My brothers were evil people. I don’t have a relationship with them now. They’ve both written me letters from prison. For them to dare to call themselves my brothers—I can’t live with that.”
He added that football was a refuge from his home life.
He also spoke about viewing football as an escape.
“I needed football—it was just something to do, an excuse to not be at home,” Sam explains. “When I played in junior high and high school, it was a hobby. I was just trying to get away from something. That was the only reason I did it.” A love for the game developed eventually. “Being with the guys on the team at Hitchcock was my real family. Mizzou was my real family. I loved it. Football was a sense of home. A home I never had.”
Earlier this month in an interview with BuzzFeed Sports, Sam’s father, Michael Sam Sr. said his son hadn’t been in touch with his family even while he was playing football for the Cowboys.
Read the entire interview at GQ.com.