Paula Deen: I'm Like That Black, Gay Football Player Says she totally empathizes with Michael Sam By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff Posted Feb 27, 2014 9:33 AM CST Updated Feb 27, 2014 10:44 AM CST 265 comments Comments In this June 26, 2013 file image released by NBC, celebrity chef Paula Deen appears on NBC News' "Today" show in New York. (AP Photo/NBC, Peter Kramer, File) (Newser) – Paula Deen is on the cover of People, and at first, it seemed like your standard, boring comeback interview: She felt like her "world was crashing down," she's "fighting to get my name back," she "would never ever hurt anyone intentionally," she apologizes once again to anyone who "did not hear" her the first time, et cetera. But the Raw Story picks up on one buried tidbit (first reported by E!) that's kind of incredible: Deen sees common ground between herself ... and Michael Sam, who could end up the first openly gay NFL player. "I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name," she says. "It’s like that black football player who recently came out. He 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 also compared herself to fellow celebrity chef Nigella Lawson (who was recently scandalized by allegations that she's a total cokehead) and Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson (who made those ill-advised comments about homosexuality), implying they were both treated more fairly than she was: "It’s amazing that some people are given passes and some people are crucified. I have new empathy for these situations, though. My dad always told me, 'Believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.'"