VIDEO: Michael Sam wins Arthur Ashe Courage Award, gives emotional speech
Rams rookie Michael Sam won the Arthur Ashe Courage Award on Wednesday night and gave an emotional speech while accepting it at the ESPYs.
Shortly after Michael Sam was drafted by the Rams in the 2014 NFL Draft -- becoming the first openly-gay player on an NFL team -- we learned the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year would be honored at the ESPYs with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
On Wednesday night Sam accepted that award and gave an emotional speech.
"This year I had a lot of experience being a part of something bigger than myself," Sam said. "At times I felt like I was part of a massive storm."
Sam proceeded to quote Ashe in "three simple sentences."
"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can," Sam said, pausing while he became emotional. "Those are words to live by, whether you're black or white, young or old, straight or gay."
Sam then told a touching story about a friend's sister who considered suicide over telling her family she was gay.
"When we spoke she told me she would never consider hurting herself again and that somehow my example helped her," Sam said fighting back tears. "It's amazing to think that by doing just what we can, we can all touch, change and even save lives."
Sam also provided an inspirational message to young people listening and watching.
"To anyone out there, especially young people feeling like they don't fit in and will never be accepted," Sam said. "Know this: great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself."
A lot of times the ESPYs can be an exercise in self-promotion. The Ashe award, however, typically brings out an emotional, worthwhile moment.
Wednesday night was the case again with Sam.
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