As she launches a comeback attempt after scandal, Paula Deen is comparing her situation with that of Michael Sam who hopes to become the NFL’s first openly gay player.
Deen tells People magazine in a story out today: ‘I feel like "embattled" or "disgraced" will always follow my name. It’s like that black football player who recently came out.’
‘He said, "I just want to be known as a football player. I don’t want to be known as a gay football player."’
Deen does not want to be known as a woman who once said the N-word.
Deen lost the bulk of her food empire last year after it was revealed in a lawsuit deposition that she had used a racial slur many years ago.
‘I’m fighting to get my name back,’ said Deen who was fired from Food Network and lost merchandise deals with such major chains as WalMart and Target.
Her comeback, Paula Deen Ventures, is being bankrolled to the tune of $75-$100 million by private equity firm Najafi Companies.
Sam, a University of Missouri grad who was his conference’s defensive player of the year, made his comments during the NFL combine over the weekend.