Michael Sam's father is disavowing an interview that quoted him as saying he was troubled by his son's announcement that he's gay and didn't want his grandkids raised "in that kind of environment.'
The football star's dad, who has the same name, told the Galveston Daily News that he was "terribly misquoted" by the New York Times and that a comment about NFL legend Deacon Jones rolling over in his grave was taken out of context.
The New York Times told the paper it stands by its report and quoted Sam, 55, "accurately and fairly."
The newspaper interviewed him Sunday, the same day the University of Missouri defenseman publicly revealed that he is gay, but the comments were not published until Tuesday.
When NBC News interviewed the elder Sam on Monday afternoon, he said he was "shocked" when his son sent him a text message that said, "I'm gay," but proud of how he handled himself on and off the field.
The disabled truck driver called his son's coming-out "a courageous decision."
"I can imagine how it was to just tell me. And especially to tell the world," the father said.
"I'm proud of him. You know, he's still my son and he's a good football player still," he added.
"He will rock you. If he hits you...you can feel it. You won't feel that he's gay. You feel the football player hittin' you. That's for sure."
First published February 14 2014, 8:20 AM
Tracy Connor is a senior writer for NBC News. She started this role in December, 2012. Connor is responsible for reporting and writing breaking news, features and enterprise stories for NBCNews.com. Connor joined NBC News from the New York Daily News, where she was a senior writer covering a broad range of news and supervising the health and immigration beats. Prior to that she was an assistant city editor who oversaw breaking news and the courts and entertainment beats.
Earlier, Connor was a staff writer at the New York Post, United Press International and Brooklyn Paper Publications.
Connor has won numerous awards from journalism organizations including the Deadline Club and the New York Press Club.
She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.