Paula Deen compares herself to openly gay football player Michael Sam in a new interview that’s raising eyebrows.

The celebrity kitchen personality, whose empire was rocked last year after she admitted to past use of the N-word, tells People that she’s “fighting to get my name back” after the scandal, which left her feeling as though “my world was crashing down.”

Deen draws a comparison between herself and Sam, the University of Missouri star who made headlines earlier this month when he came out ahead of the NFL Draft.

“I feel like ‘embattled’ or ‘disgraced’ will always follow my name,” she says to the magazine. “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’s choice to draw a parallel between a black athlete risking his professional future by coming out with her own reputation repair following a racism controversy is striking many observers as… odd.

What do you think?

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