(ABC News) -- 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.
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."