Michael Sam receives Arthur Ashe Courage Award; gives emotional speech at ESPYS

Michael Sam gives an emotional speech at last week's ESPY Awards. (x)

Michael Sam gives an emotional speech at last week’s ESPY Awards. (x)

Michael Sam received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY Awards last week. The first openly gay NFL player then gave an emotional and inspiring speech.

Sam spoke about how the late American civil rights activist and tennis player influenced him. “He once put all the wisdom in the world in three short sentences,” Sam said, visibly nervous. “‘Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.’ Those are words to live by, whether you’re black or white, young or old, straight or gay.”

Sam also talked about meeting with a young gay woman who was considering suicide rather than coming out. “When we spoke, she told me that she would never consider hurting herself again, and that somehow my example would help her,” he said fighting back tears. Sam also thanked his boyfriend, Vito, and his mother.

“The way I see my responsibility at this moment in history is to stand up for everybody out there who wants nothing more than to be themselves openly.”

Watch the powerful speech below:

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