Former Missouri teammate, now Pittsburgh Steeler TE Eric Waters spoke about Michael Sam with The Pittsburgh Tribune.
Waters, an undrafted free agent watched Michael Sam’s progression from the moment he informed the Missouri Tigers family that he was gay to formally announcing to the world of his sexual orientation before the NFL Draft. Sam became the first openly gay player in the NFL when the St. Louis Rams drafted him in the seventh round of May’s draft.
Sam and Waters were not only teammates, they were roommates and so he may seem more than able to provide insight into where Sam is. Waters shared that his friend may be more focused on fame than on the game.
“Like I tell everybody else, I don’t care about your sexual preference or if you are black or white or freaking purple. As long as you can play football, that’s all that matters. We had a common denominator: We were brought to the same university because we had the ability to play football. That’s all that matters.”
“He is a nice guy, but I will say the truth: A little bit of him has changed. It is really not my situation to speculate at this point, but he is not the same Michael Sam anymore.”
“Just the way he acts and carries himself…I was watching the NFL Network the other day and I think it was Marshall Faulk who said that he keeps referring to himself in the third person as Michael Sam this, Michael Sam that. That’s not the same guy we knew back when we were living together. He is not the same fun-loving, joking guy that really didn’t care about stuff like publicity.”
Does Waters have a point? Is Sam focused more on the attention he has been given–celebrity status–or will his talent and ability speak louder? While it is difficult to not have the spotlight on him, Sam needs to also make sure he plays the game like he did when he was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.