A family divided. Michael Sam spoke out in detail on the Monday, April 6 episode of Dancing With the Stars about his painful estrangement from his father, Michael Sam Sr., after the football player publicly came out as gay in February 2014.
"When I first came out it was all over the press," Sam, 25, said of being the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL. "What people don’t know is it cost me my relationship with my father."
His father, meanwhile, publicly denounced his son in the press. "I don't want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment," Sam Sr. told The New York Times last February. "I’m old school. I'm a man-and-a-woman type of guy."
Michael said on DWTS that while his family's reaction was expected, he was "hurt" beyond measure. "I called him and I said, 'You lost another son again, by what you said,'" Sam recalled. "And I haven't talked to him since." (Sam's brother Russell was shot and killed at age 15. Another brother Julian is believed to be dead.)
According to the NFL Free Agent, his dance — a rumba to the song "Not My Father's Son" from the Broadway musical Kinky Boots — was supposed to portray the experience of being shunned by his dad. Following his performance, Sam cried with his partner Peta Murgatroyd. While his dance was well-received by the judges, the athlete ultimately was eliminated on Monday night.
Speaking to Us Weekly and other reporters backstage on Monday, Sam said he was "good" despite his exit. "Always put a smile on your face no matter what," Sam noted to Us. "I had a great time, I'm so blessed to have a girl like Peta be my dance partner. I wanted the trophy for her, but you know, I had a blast. No complaints."
Sam told reporters that "it sucks" that his relationship with his dad is nonexistent. "But you know, I can't speak for my father, only he can. So I can only speak for myself," he noted. "I'm glad I got to share a moment and have my best scores. It was a powerful moment and I'm glad I got to share that with everybody."
Watch his performance above.
For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!