Washington Redskins defensive tackle Dominique Hamilton played with Michael Sam at Missouri and got to know him as a friend and teammate. In his eyes, where Sam goes from here may have less to do with Sam and more to do with the people around him, including media.
“He’s going to go in there, and he’s going to ball. He’s going to do what he normally does and showcase his talents,” Hamilton said on The MoJo Show. “It’s really going to be on the media – how far they go with this. He’s already said that he doesn’t want to be an advocate, (that) he doesn’t want all the attention that comes with it. He just wanted to get it out there and for it to be done.”
Well, in today’s 24/7 news cycle, that’s easier said than done.
Hamilton wants to know what happens if Sam – the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Year – is named Rookie of the Year. Is he “Michael Sam, NFL Rookie of the Year,” or is he, “Openly gay Michael Sam, NFL Rookie of the Year”?
“Are they always going to be holding that over his head?” Hamilton wondered. “If they keep doing that, (the story is) going to go pretty far. If they just drop it and move on to the next thing, it’ll be good.”
At Mizzou, Hamilton was a redshirt sophomore when Sam was a redshirt freshman.
“I didn’t know the whole first year, but I knew the last two years at Mizzou that he was gay,” Hamilton said. “He didn’t verbally tell me, but we knew. It was just one of those things (where) we knew.”
Still, Hamilton doesn’t feel Sam’s sexual orientation was blatantly obvious to outsiders.
“It was just Michael Sam,” he said. “He’s an outgoing guy. You really wouldn’t know unless you found some stuff out about him – because he’s a guy that will go out to the bar and have a drink with you. He’s a guy that will sit down and play Xbox with you. He does all that stuff that anybody does. I don’t want people to think he’s going to come into the locker room and (dress up) in women’s clothing or something. It really wasn’t like that. That was his personal life. His personal life doesn’t affect me. If his personal life doesn’t affect me and it’s not messing up my routine, I don’t really care.
“Now, on the flipside,” Hamilton continued, “it’s the NFL. That’s the only thing that worries me about him. In college, it’s more like a dictatorship. The head coach is in charge. Whatever he says, goes. It’s a family environment. The NFL’s not like that. It’s way more of a work place.”
In other words, guys don’t hang out and play video games or watch movies after practice. They go home to their wives and kids.
It’s just a different mindset.
“It’s really going to be on Michael Sam – because he’s the one who came out and told everybody,” Hamilton said. “So he has to go in there and he has to embrace it – no matter what happens. It’s on him.”