PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – John Amaechi, a former basketball star at Penn State who played in the NBA for three teams, joined 93.7 The Fan’s John Phillips (Twitter @937Phillips) on Monday to discuss the decision by Missouri defensive star Michael Sam to come out as a gay athlete.
Sam was the SEC co-defensive player of the year with 11.5 sacks, leading the Tigers to a 12-2 season and a Cotton Bowl win over Oklahoma State.
Amaechi addressed the calculated process of athletes and ‘coming out’ to both teammates, fans and the media.
‘A lot of people nowadays with so many coming forward ask, ‘Why do you have to do that?’ Unfortunately, it’s one of those things that you do have to talk about if you are a celebrity in the same way that you have to talk about your life if you are heterosexual. And, if you are in the public eye, it just magnifies the responsibility,” Amaechi said.
Amaechi, who came out in 2007, as the first NBA player to admit he was gay joined Phillips for an open discussion about Sam.
They discussed his to come out before the NFL Draft in May and the impact it has had on professional sports.
“There is no way that Michael Sam made this declaration with the understanding that nothing would change, that nothing bad would happen. Every gay person knows that when they come out, that a percentage of people will say they are the scourge of the Earth and that they are dammed to hell,” Amaechi said.
Amaechi’s book ‘Man In The Middle’ chronicled his playing days and how he hid his sexuality while playing in one of the four major pro sports leagues. You can listen to the entire interview below.