We couldn’t think of anyone more deserving of the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2014 ESPYs! Michael Sam, who became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL when the St. Louis Rams picked the defensive-end during the 7th round of drafts, won big tonight — and his speech will have you crying!
Congratulations, Michael Sam! Michael, 24, was the recipient of the prestigious Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the ESPY Awards Show tonight, and he certainly is in good company. Legends such as Muhammed Ali, Bille Jean King, and John Carlos are all past winners.
Michael Sam’s Touching Acceptance Speech
Presented by The Rock, the crowd was introduced to Michael in a emotional tribute video that shows just how far the talented player has come.
In the amazing and tear-jerker video, we can see the emotional moment when Michael was finally drafted during the 7th round, and shared a kiss with his boyfriend, Vito Cammisano.
Michael was greeted with a well deserved standing ovation when he took the stage to accept his award. Crediting Arthur Ashe himself, Michael told the crowd the three sentences that he has lived by: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can,” he said.
The athlete continued with: “Whatever passion or talent you have, follow it, I followed mine and it got me all the way to this stage tonight, so I can look out and see so many of my hero’s looking back at me.”
Michael then thanked everyone for their support while fighting back his emotions. “To anyone out there, especially young people, that are feeling like they don’t fit in and will never be accepted, please know this, great things can happen if you have the courage to be yourself,” he said.
We are blown away by Michael’s strength and courage!
Michael Sam Accepts Arthur Ashe Courage Award
Michael made history on February 9 when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL.
Michael is a graduate of the University of Missouri where he certainly made an impact, even being named the Southeastern Conference’s Defensive Player two weeks in a row.
Arthur Ashe was a professional U.S tennis star who is the only black man to ever win the single’s title at the US Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon.
In the 1980’s, Arthur contracted HIV from a blood transfusion. Not letting his illness get him down, Arthur began to educate others about HIV and AIDS, founding the Arthur Ashe Foundation for the Defeat of AIDS.
Arthur passed away in 1993 from pneumonia, and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Bill Clinton shortly after his passing.
The Arthur Ashe Courage Award is given out to a player who shows their courage and overcomes adversity.We definitely agree that Michael deserves this award. He is the picture of courage and has become and inspiration to many.
What do YOU think HollywoodLifers? Were you glad to see Michael Sam receive the prestigious award? Did he speech make you cry? Let us know!
— Caitlin Beck