WASHINGTON, March 7 (UPI) -- In order to help hammer home the point that he wants to be known as a football player more than anything else, openly gay NFL hopeful Michael Sam turned down a number of off-field opportunities -- including an invitation to the White House Correspondents’ Dinner.
Howard Bragman helped orchestrate the former Missouri defensive end’s public announcement about his sexual orientation, and he spoke to USA Today about Sam’s decision to focus solely on football.
“We respectfully declined,” Bragman said of the White House invitation. “As much fun as I would have had and he would have had going, it sends the wrong message. If he gets on a team and plays well, he’ll probably be invited next year. I don’t want people to think that he’s interested in anything other than getting ready for the draft.”
By all accounts, Sam’s workouts at the NFL Combine were disappointing and likely hurt his draft stock. In that respect, it may have been wise he came out beforehand.
“I know if we would have come out after the draft, people would have said, ‘Oh, this guy didn’t have the guts to come out before the draft and he was trying to hide it to get on a team,’” Bragman said. “You could cure cancer tomorrow and somebody is going to criticize you for putting oncologists out of business. That’s just the world we live in.”
Missouri’s Pro Day is March 20, and Sam will be looking to improve upon his performance.