He is…

Michael Sam is a football player.

Defensive end at the University of Missouri.

First-team all-American.

Associated Press defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference.

Michael Sam is a gay man.

“I didn’t realize how many people actually knew, and I was afraid that someone would tell or leak something out about me,” he said. “I want to own my truth. … No one else should tell my story but me.”

Michael Sam is also an African-American man.

I bring this up because the conversation on homosexuality within the black community can be a difficult one. A large part of this “difficulty” has to do with some African-American’s are simply not comfortable with talking about “it” and the reasons range and at times have divided the community.

Some will tell you that the black church plays a part in this uncomfortable conversation. The church has never really opened their doors to embrace or welcome those African-Americans that are gay. It is because of this some will never admit their own truth like Sam and many will remain in the closet on the “down low.”

There is also the issue of black men and masculinity.  What does it mean to be a black man? Black men are strong, proud and some see homosexuality as a threat to their strength.

Michael Sam has taken a huge step to live his truth.

Some will never know how that feels and some will never accept it.

But what should ultimately matter is –

Michael Sam is an athlete who wants to play in the NFL.