Michael Sam, the University of Missouri American football defensive lineman who announced he is gay, is participating in this weekend’s National Football League Scouting Combine.
The Combine is an opportunity for college American football players to perform physical and mental tests for coaches, general managers, and scouts.
According to a NFL blog called Around the League, the draft prospect met with a large group of reporters to answer questions.
‘I just wish you guys would see me as Michael Sam, the football player rather than Michael Sam, the gay football player,’ Sam said.
Sam added that in all of his interviews thus far, teams have focused on football not his sexuality.
A reporter asked the Southeastern Conference’s defensive player of the year how he would respond if a teammate called him an anti-gay epithet.
‘If someone wants to call me a name I’ll have a conversation with that guy and hopefully it won’t happen to someone else,’ Sam said.
He added praise for his alma mater. Last weekend thousands of people turned out to block members of the Westboro Baptist Church from picketing a basketball game during which he was to be honored.
Sam also denied he was a groundbreaker.
‘Do I feel like a trailblazer,’ he asked. ‘I feel like I’m Michael Sam.’