Michael Sam revealed a lot more than just his rumba skills on Monday night's Dancing with the Stars episode when he said that coming out as gay tore his family apart. But now, his aunt is speaking out exclusively to RadarOnline.com to insist that his family still loves him and the heartbreaking TV confessional was just a cry for "attention!"
"Michael needs to quit trying to blame his dad. He needs to grow up," his aunt Geraldine Sam told Radar.
Rumors of a family feud started when the footballer became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL last year. His dad, Michael Sam Sr. reportedly then reportedly told the New York Times, "I don't want my grandkids raised in that kind of environment. I'm old school. I'm a man-and-a-woman type of guy."
"Whatever going on with Michael and his dad, please make amends to whatever is going on," pleaded his aunt Geraldine Sam.
"I think he should take a time out and go see his dad. His dad his real sick," she continued, adding that he's been in and out of the hospital. "He's in a nursing home. We don't know how much time a person has left."
Despite the harsh words, his aunt says it's not all that it seems.
"That's not the way he meant it. Everything my nephew does he watches it, every step Michael is taking," she said. "I don't know if it was taken out of context … I talk to my brother every day and I didn't get the same sentiment. I know my brother loves his son dearly as he loves all of his sons."
In fact, she has some strong words of her own for her nephew.
"If he truly wants a relationship with his dad, he has to make the effort and say 'I'm not going to let anyone destroy it. 'Dad, this may be the way you feel, but we're going to love each other the way we are.'" she insisted.
"Whatever going on with Michael and his dad, please make amends to whatever is going on," she pleaded. "I think he should take a time out and go see his dad. His dad his real sick. He's in a nursing home. We don't know how much time a person has left."
An emotional Michael, who's now engaged to longtime boyfriend Vito Cammisano gave a performance this week before his elimination that was meant to portray the distance between him and his father.
But Michael's aunt says the University of Missouri grad is unfairly representing his father.
"We're not going to let anyone keep putting my brother down over and over again," said Geraldine, who's the mayor of La Marque, Texas. "I think that my brother had been misrepresented on many occasions."
"My brother has been proud of Michael and his accomplishments," she added. "When Michael was in college my brother supported him financially, my sisters supported him."
In fact, she believes the NFL free agent had other motives when making those on camera remarks.
"I think it's basically it's for attention," said Geraldine. "That's what he's trying to do, put someone down to build himself up. Be who you are. We love him, but you can't keep saying what my brother did not do."
"If you want a relationship with your dad, all you have to do is call him or visit him!" she said. "Personally, I would like to see Michael on TV making amends with his mother, father and his whole family. We're disappointed with the relationship between him and his dad. We felt like he's mistreated his dad. I want him to own up to the way he's treated people too. Be the bigger person."
"Say 'I made mistakes, you made mistakes, let's start brand new.' If he feels his dad is wrong, forgive him and keep moving on."
Still, Geraldine maintains the Sam family will always defend the famous athlete.
"Regardless of his lifestyle, we love him," said Geraldine. "There are people all over the U.S. that have problems with his sexuality. But they are not god and they can't judge my nephew one way or another,. I defend his right to his lifestyle. If he chooses to be gay, that's his right. And his dad loves him. There is nothing his dad would not do for him."