When Michael Sam publicly came out back in February, the New York Times talked to the football player's father, Michael Sam, Sr., who reacted by getting drunk at an Applebee's. Joel Anderson of BuzzFeed caught up with Sam's father recently and pried more into the relationship between him and his son.
The NFL draft pick didn't come out to his father until he came out to everyone, but Michael Sam, Sr. was suspicious when his son was in college. He actually met Vito Cammisano, Sam's eventual boyfriend, but at the time, he was just a friend:
What struck Michael Sr. was his son's taste in music.
"He knew all of them white songs," Michael Sr. said. "He knew country, Taylor Swift, all that stuff. I'm like, What brother knows all of them white songs? That tripped me out."
On another one of Michael Jr.'s trips home with Vito, Michael Sr. noticed their relationship seemed much closer than a simple friendship. How else to explain Vito coming home for the holidays? Michael Sr. waited until they returned to Missouri to broach his suspicions to his wife. "I told JoAnn, 'You know, Mike ain't bring his girlfriend but he brought this dude. That's kinda funny,'" Michael Sr. said. "But she swore up and down" that he wasn't gay. "I kept asking Mike was this boy funny? 'No, Daddy, no. Ain't nothing wrong with Vito,' he'd say."
"He didn't act gay then either," Michael Sr. said of Vito.
Michael Sam, Sr. did believe Cammisano was gay because of how he shook his hand, saying, "it felt like a woman's."
There's more detail about the night Michael Sam, Sr. received the text from his son, too:
On Feb. 4, Michael Sr.'s birthday, he received a text message from his son. "I could tell his PR guy wrote that message because Mike don't talk like that," Michael Sr. said. "It was some bullshit. 'I wanted to inform you that I'm gay.'"
"That's all you've got to say?" Michael Sr. remembered texting Michael Jr. in response. "He texted me back, 'Happy birthday.' So I went out and got drunk."
As Sam became the center of the news, receiving awards and coverage, Michael Sam, Sr. says the football player distanced himself from his father. But Sam's dad claims he doesn't hate his son or want him to change his sexuality, despite his crude views on homosexuality; he says he just wants to maintain some sort of relationship.
Oh, also, there's this quote:
Pointing at the pictures, Michael Sr. said he knew from the start that Michael Jr. would be special.
"That boy, he had some big nuts," Michael Sr. said. "He was big when he was born. That boy had some big-ass balls."