Paula Deen: My Struggle Is Like “That Black Football Player”

Paula Deen1

Paula Deen has put her foot in her mouth again.

In a recent interview with People Magazine, Deen described her struggle to rebuild her life and salvage her reputation after her admission of using the N-word left her without publicly shunned and relinquished from her Food Network contract along with other endorsement deals. The 67-year-old celebrity chef likened her struggle to repair her tarnished reputation to that of NFL prospect Michael Sam, who recently came out. If drafted, he would be the first openly gay professional football player. 

“I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name,” Deen told People in an interview for the magazine’s March 10 issue. “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.”

“‘I’m fighting to get my name back,” the former Food Network personality said.

In other words, Deen does not like being labeled as a racist for using racial slurs and once wanting to throw a slavery-themed wedding where she would hire all black servers. Right?

“Some people said I never apologized. If anyone did not hear me, I want to apologize,” an apologetic Deen tells People in its Feb. 28 cover story. “I would never ever hurt anyone intentionally. Never!”

During the interview, she also had “empathy” for Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson who faced controversy after making homophobic comments with little damage to his career.

“It’s amazing that some people are given passes and some people are crucified,” Deen said. “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.'”

Deen will soon be back in the spotlight after receiving a $75 million to $100 million deal with investment firm Najafi Companies.

Read Deen’s full interview in the latest issue of People, on newsstands Friday.

What do you think about Paula Deen comparing herself to Michael Sam?

(Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)