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Howard Bragman: Helping Michael Sam make a statement

Monday, February 10, 2014 | 5:41 p.m. CST; updated 7:19 p.m. CST, Tuesday, February 11, 2014

COLUMBIA — Howard Bragman orchestrated Michael Sam’s announcement about his homosexuality.

His next step is to make sure Sam focuses on football, not media interviews.

“I think you announce it once, you announce it well and then you shut up and let him get ready for the combine and to be a professional football player,” Bragman, whose public relations firm, Fifteen Minutes, specializes in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual issues, said in an interview Sunday night with the Missourian.

Bragman, 57, recognizes the significance of Sam’s announcement comes once he is drafted and plays an NFL game. Bragman's goal is to take the heat off the former Missouri defensive end and let Sam work to achieve those accomplishments.

“I think it’s OK for me to talk and his agents to talk,” Bragman said. “I don’t want that to be what Michael’s about. I want him to be about football and focus on getting ready for the combine.”

According to OutSports.com, Joe Barkett and Cameron Weiss are Sam’s agents with Empire Athletes. On the afternoon of Jan. 20, Barkett and Weiss asked Bragman to help Sam reveal his sexuality.

Bragman has helped other athletes announce they are gay, including women’s basketball player Sheryl Swoopes, former NBA player John Amaechi and former college kicker Alan Gendreau. He also consulted entertainers Ed McMahon and Chaz Bono, according to IMDB.com.

Sam flew to Los Angeles on Friday and spent the weekend with Bragman, preparing for his media interviews.

“It’s been a pleasure,” Bragman said. “He’s literally stayed at my house the whole weekend. I’ve gotten to know him, and my husband’s gotten to know him. He’s a lovely young man.”

Bragman published the book “Where’s my Fifteen Minutes?” in 2008.

He has appeared multiple times on “Good Morning America,” “20/20,” “Larry King Live” and many other programs as a public relations expert.

He was born in Flint, Mich. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Michigan in 1978 in journalism and psychology.

Supervising editor is Mark Selig


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