Paula Deen Compares Herself to NFL Prospect Michael Sam

"It's like that black football player who recently came out," she said.

ByMICHAEL ROTHMAN
February 27, 2014, 4:40 PM
PHOTO: From left, Paula Deen in Detroit, and Michael Sam in Indianapolis
From left, Paula Deen in Detroit, Mich., April 25, 2013, and Michael Sam in Indianapolis, Indiana, Feb. 24, 2014.
Monica Morgan/Getty Images | Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Feb. 27, 2014 — -- Paula Deen is "fighting to get my name back" and in the process has compared herself to someone else grabbing headlines.

"I feel like 'embattled' or 'disgraced' will always follow my name. It's like that black football player who recently came out," she told People magazine, referring to NFL prospect Michael Sam.

Sam, 24, who just came out as gay, is trying to become the first active NFL player to have declared his homosexuality publicly.

Read: Paula Deen and Lisa Jackson Reach Settlement

Deen, 67, continued, "He [Sam] said, 'I just want to be known as a football player. I don't want to be known as a gay football player.' I know exactly what he's saying."

Deen, who lost millions in endorsements after she admitted under oath to using the n-word in the past, also told People that even after losing her Food Network show and being taken off the shelves at many major chains, she has a positive outlook on the future.

"You think, 'I'm still alive,'" she said. "I unintentionally hurt others. But I don't want that to define who I am."

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