Preceded by a moving backstory video and followed by an emotional acceptance speech, St. Louis Rams’ Michael Sam was honored at the 2014 ESPY Awards with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
The video package and acceptance speech were perfect for the heroic Michael Sam. The sports world and the LGBT community could not be more proud that this is the journey and story a life can take when a true athlete faces his challenges.
From his speech tonight at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles:
“This year I had a lot of experience being part of something bigger than myself. At times, I felt like I’d been living in a massive storm, … but the lessons learned — love, respect and being true to yourself — will never leave me.”
Quoting Arthur Ashe — “Start where you are, use what you have, do what you can. Those were the words to live by, whether you’re black or white, young or old, straight or gay. … Football raised me, football taught me about hard work.”
“People tell me that I’m their inspiration. Well you are my inspiration.”
“To anyone out there, especially young people feeling like they don’t fit in and would never be accepted, please know this. Great things can happen when you have the courage to be yourself.”
Get ready to grab a tissue. Full tribute video and acceptance speech below: