Michael Sam: Perseverance begets success

Samuel Cox

“Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” This quote by Horace Mann was shared by guest speaker Michael Sam, who delivered an honest speech on campus March 29 that left him vulnerable to Washburn students who attended. 

Michael Sam is a former star defensive end for the University of Missouri who was drafted in the 7th round by the St. Louis Rams of the National Football League in 2014.

Sam came out as gay to his Missouri teammates in February of 2014.

“This was not a surprise,” Sam said. “We [the team] are a family, they knew me better than I knew myself. One Mizzou.”

In an interview with ESPN, Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said that he was proud of Sam.

“We’re really happy for Michael that he’s made the decision to announce this, and we’re proud of him and how he represents Mizzou,” Pinkel said. “Michael is a great example of just how important it is to be respectful of others, he’s taught a lot of people here first-hand that it doesn’t matter what your background is, or your personal orientation, we’re all on the same team and we all support each other.”

Unfortunately, things have not always been this hopeful for Sam. He was born with seven siblings and an absent father. 

Sam said, “I did not have a father figure in my life, and my older brothers were no good, either.” 

Sam went through tragedy after tragedy, but each time returned stronger than before. 

Of the students in attendance, Kilian Madeira, a junior computer information sciences, said that it was important for students to hear Sam’s message and know that “[We] can come together and be anything; we can’t let anyone hold us back from our goals.” 

Michael Sam persevered and fought hard to get to where he is today, speaking out against discrimination of any kind and raising awareness of intolerance. Sam said his goal now is, “to make everyone feel loved and appreciated. Life is more important than anything else.”

{{tncms-inline account=”DrEGrospitch” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">I appreciate <a href="https://twitter.com/MichaelSam52?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MichaelSam52</a> talking about mental health and the importance of seeking help and being a light to others. Don’t forget <a href="https://twitter.com/WashburnUniv?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WashburnUniv</a> the <a href="https://twitter.com/WUcounseling?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WUcounseling</a> is here if you or others need it.</p>— Eric Grospitch (@DrEGrospitch) <a href="https://twitter.com/DrEGrospitch/status/979528069928095744?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 30, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”979528069928095744″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”john_mullican” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Really great opportunity to listen to <a href="https://twitter.com/MichaelSam52?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MichaelSam52</a> speak tonight at <a href="https://twitter.com/WashburnUniv?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WashburnUniv</a>. Thankful for his willingness to openly, honestly, and bravely share his journey with our students tonight. Best of luck and much love to you, sir! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/GoBods?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#GoBods</a> <a href="https://t.co/LYajtNrqk6">pic.twitter.com/LYajtNrqk6</a></p>— Britt Lauritsen (@bsim9) <a href="https://twitter.com/bsim9/status/979541202524672000?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 30, 2018</a></blockquote>” id=”979546021779984384″ type=”twitter”}}