WEEI>On Demand>>ESPN's Chris Connelly on his interview with Michael Sam

ESPN's Chris Connelly on his interview with Michael Sam

Feb 10, 2014|

Chris Connelly talks with Mut and Lou about how Michael Sam approached him in an effort to break his story

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Our tier model or not a 37 WEEI last night. After the college basketball and ESPN two Michael Sam told his story. And told that a person a Chris Connelly of ESPN reported -- AC money. ABC news in a veteran of the old MTV -- Chris nice up the join -- here on the eighteenth the outline crisp like a little in Boston power you. Great it's like you guys and thanks for remembering my younger cuter MTV days. Who could forget Chris those days and have you have you sat down last night and told -- story that is the story in the sports world today with Michael Sam was courted the draft that has come out. And it and says he is gay and says that to the world the first. Yes set it to his teammates but I I'm curious how this story Chris. Came about -- award when he worked -- the SP ended the -- come the year did you guys goading him how did you end up getting the interview with Michael. You know while -- did that similar story and again and Kevin McClatchy who was the former owner of the Pittsburgh Pirates. We decided to come out and acknowledged that he was now openly today. And so I guess that went well and and he had the same publicist. Michael Kim did and so they reached out as they reach out to -- to reach out to be in the sort of happened rapidly after that. Eucharist not the thing is I think about the NFL it's just went -- to a New England here if the patriots were cute draft Michael -- -- think Bill Belichick wouldn't. What addresses team may be or like the people and charger whether it be the captains or what not to discuss. -- of this is the way we're gonna handle it but Michael Sam came out and addressed it to his team. Even -- that type of setting. That the coach Gary pickled it did Michael sandy talked to his teammates they talk to the players say this is how we're gonna handle this it would keep it in house. Well I you know I'd I haven't spoken to the coach so I don't know I think what what Michael said was. It is sort of came out almost by accident you know it was one of those things in training camp we get both -- they were your major is that something else and it's something that other people might not know about you. And just in the middle of that Michael said and I'm get a and everybody on the team according to Michael said well yeah we know we've always. You know what else to do and then Michael let it sit down with the with the coach as you mentioned. And according to Michael the coach gave just a 100%. Support and encouragement. You know for him going forward and that made all the difference to him. You know he felt that that he really had a brotherhood. He did not tell the other guys on the team that they couldn't tell other people but for whatever reason they kind of protected him. And as a result perhaps the team really flourished last season. A -- Michael surprised. Maybe it didn't come out. No I think he was more surprised the other way for for whatever reason. You know at the at the Senior Bowl a couple of weeks ago he was surprised that the number of media people who were familiar with the sexual orientation. And so I think rather than having the story leak out and have it not be him telling him he wanted to come forward and and you know and clear the air and say exactly what the situation. We're talking to Cris -- BSP any of the interview last night with Michael sandy you match in the Senior Bowl starting get word from scouts and people around. That event that they knew did you get an idea Chris of in Michael's mind forget the scouts how many of the 32 NFL teams had an idea about that he was he was -- told teammates about it. If I'm if I'm remembered correctly yes I think he felt that most of the NFL scouts did you know. You know and -- it was common knowledge. You know -- that field those guys ask a lot of questions and they find out a lot of things and so. I think I think to that group of people they probably were aware. That he was -- and planning to be openly gave the world. Yasser look candidates you know whether he felt the stores could c'mon try to get ahead of it or not but. It in him coming out you got to give them a -- to yet put a check markets -- characters as far as coverage in on -- teams may be as we some teams that maybe don't look at that way but. I look at a guy now maybe a year in the NFL to use the NFL he comes out at -- this kid did I look at him saying. Why couldn't you be true to yourself a few years back because you've paid the cost yourself maybe draft in some money output has checked mark to -- -- -- feel that way that's how we should be viewed. -- -- -- absolutely what you feel like it is up blowing his own -- but he's saying you know I think if you think about the kind of young. A guy in his early twentieth coming up to the world in making this kind of statement. That's an indication of character that's an indication of being able to do something that other people might out of the nerve to beat -- pioneer. I don't think he wants to be an advocate. In other interesting thing about him is. I think Michael them like what we think of his locker room culture and the like the teasing and getting pleased either team concept he likes. He likes the jokes in the back and forth he wants to be part of a team. And that's how we splurge didn't do and that's the situation I think he's looking for the NFL. Chris and you guys lot more today as part of the outside the lines Monday program -- 3 o'clock eastern time here. -- locally in Boston issue as you talk with him and he told a story about not just the -- coming out in and say he's gay but. -- family life Chris and and how much that affected him it seems like this is. Based on what happened to him and some of the Brothers and sisters this is not going to be a huge deal for him because he's dealt with a lot. In his life leading up to this week. Yeah I completely agree that when you hear about you know his two and two Brothers in and out of jail and jail now. Doubt that his family with other siblings and stuff that. The real hardship and struggle the growing up he certainly feel like telling the world that he's -- doesn't compared everything to get to go through. Before that I don't know if he's prepared entirely for everything that's going to happen all the scrutiny and all the interest and stuff. But I certainly feel that he thinks. That everything he's gone through has given him the strength to be able to do whatever comes back. You I'm curious to roast duck the ball you know remarks and it's all ball the tone how that delivered me I'm. I'm Italian friends of mine at a very close to me they can joke to me -- being Italian right and they can say things to me. You never get that a borrower so comfortable in that locker room Missouri that he said guys and his team. They would discuss it always it just nobody talked about. You know what he told us was that that would one of his teammates went to a gay pride. Rally your market -- the one point and that a couple of them accompanied him to a gay Disco what point and there are people back and forth about that you know. Base that are just here to check out the straight girl sector of the things soak in a team concept he's completely comfortable with the same back and -- the you're referring to. And I think I think wonder if if and when the right team drafts him. They'll find that that he's you know he's the ideal kind of teammate because he doesn't call attention to himself. He didn't take all the oxygen out of the room he has a lot of you don't stand on a soapbox necessarily he wants to be part of the team and he wants to win championships. Chris as a reporter my guess is that today you got up and wanna see some of the reaction and the part we we've been talking out today. In that reaction was Peter king's Monday Morning Quarterback column where he gets a general manager not on the record but off the record. Say that this players overrated say that locker rooms are not ready for this and Peter King asked him flat out. Do you think he'll be drafted. And the general manager says no and is that the SEC defense -- player of the year. At a GM off the record says the Peter King he's not going to be group drafted what was your reaction to reading that this morning. Well first look Peter king of the Greek journalist and so it's it's. Fantastic anytime he weighs in on a big issue like this. I feel like part of the upside for -- in terms of coming out now is to weed out these franchises and cities. That can't handle or there or are for some reason afraid of having an openly gay player. I -- a lot of those that one of those comments -- that story -- people talking about how others would respond. About how others would feel there are all there are a whole lot of NFL franchises. -- 45 or six don't wanna get near Michael stamp for whatever reason. I think he's good with that. I think part of the upside in coming out now with support team you know. You know to to get teens -- cities are franchises -- our player personnel folks. Who are ready to deal with the reality of having it openly game in the locker just did get them off the table. It's like be ready for that you'd you'd have to be a -- he wants to play -- routine drafts him. But if for whatever reason you're gonna freak out. Move on all good. Did you get a sense that he needs he's well aware of how this could affect his draft status in other words to be. It was projected every thinks -- third round range -- he goes to seven pro Nazi doesn't get drafted did you get a sense of how that will affect him. And you want to play football that you want to be a football player I'd I didn't get the sense that he has enormous ambition in terms of -- round he goes to. You know like you say he's the SEC defensive player of the year he led the FCC in fact he led the FCC didn't tackle for loss. Maybe he's a little small two. You know the planet on the defensive line about 62 or something like that. But as as our guy -- -- junior likes to say he's gonna be gonna be going forward could be rushing the quarterback. And and that's what he's going to do with the NFL and yeah I think given the opportunity to do that he feels he's likely to succeed. Chris last one for me covered sports you've covered Hollywood you've covered -- all do you believe that you know we fast forward ten years from now that -- look at at. It is Michaels being a pioneer that the idea being an openly gay player more than four major sports will be commonplace or is going to be. Is it longer than ten years in my eight underestimating how long it will be before this is not a big story like it Tuesday. I think you will be much shorter than that you know I think what's interesting to see the reaction of his teammates didn't do it was the shrug of benevolent -- You know so what else is there witnesses you know. This is -- workplace and are all kinds of people in the workplace as we all know the idea that you did that headline gave man to -- worked for. That's -- big headlines from the onion you know it's so every day and but all right IE I would imagine that's what the world of sports looked like we will be surprised. How fast everybody gets comfortable with the whole idea. Chris appreciate -- a few minutes today they'll be more on the -- outside the lines on this story at 3 o'clock eastern time. More the interview will be there at the thank you for your time Chris really appreciated thank you your interest -- Chris -- of ESPN I ESPN news ABC news joining us here.

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