We can learn a lot from the wide world of sports, from leadership to bravery, success to failure. But sports can also teach us a great deal about living in the public eye, though it seems we learn more about what not to do when there are cameras around.

Sometimes, tact and decorum are hard to come by for professional athletes. Here's a look at three athletes who should have reconsidered what they were about to say.

Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks

"I'm the best corner in the game!" Sherman shouted after making a game-winning block on San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree.

This line has become so famous, the iPhone personal assistant Siri just told me Sherman was the best cornerback in the league. His brusque comments scared ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews and drastically changed the public's opinion of him.

Combined with his unknown, seemingly antagonistic comments to Crabtree immediately after the play — later revealed to be benign — Sherman was painted as a thug and a braggart. The Seahawks did go on to dominate in the Super Bowl, but if Sherman had taken a breath and reconsidered his words, he wouldn't have had to work so hard to regain the public favor.

Sherman's comments, and requisite backpedaling, should be a lesson to us all: If you're caught up in the emotions of a situation, it's probably best to let your actions — or your PR agent — handle the comments and interviews.

Michael Sam, DE, University of Missouri

Sam has been making headlines recently as he has publicly declared that he is gay. If he gets drafted, which almost seems a guarantee considering his impressive college career, he would be the first openly gay player in the NFL.

The key word there is "almost." There is a ton of speculation that Sam has hurt his chances of being drafted with his announcement. While he was projected to be picked in the third or fourth round before his announcement, there are rumors that he may fall lower in the draft — or may go undrafted — due to the unnecessary media attention that he will draw in the NFL.

On paper, Sam's stats and collegiate accomplishments haven't changed since his announcement, his intangibles have changed drastically — and not for the better. What once seemed like a sure thing has now been relegated to a scouting combine hopeful.

If Sam had just waited until after the draft to announce his sexual orientation, he wouldn't be surrounded by media attention and driving away job offers.

Chris Kluwe, P, Minnesota Vikings

In an expose article he wrote for Deadspin, Kluwe revealed a controversy that took place during the 2012 NFL season. During that time, he became publicly outspoken in favor of gay rights.

While he always did so as a private citizen and not as a spokesperson for the team, Kluwe was approached repeatedly by Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier and asked to keep his activism quiet. He politely refused.

After months of continued harassment from coaches and staff, Kluwe was released by the Vikings in May 2013. Kluwe said in the article, "I honestly don't know if my activism was the reason I got fired. However, I'm pretty confident it was."

While Kluwe didn't speak hastily or without forethought, his words themselves were inflammatory in nature. Expressing one's beliefs is important, but it is sometimes best to take the advice of your employers and keep your opinions to yourself.

Kluwe knew what he was doing was against the wishes of his coaching staff, but he persisted and was fired because of it. If he had kept his opinions out of the public eye, he may still be employed as an NFL punter.

While attitudes toward homosexuality are changing in the NFL, it has still been a slow road. Kluwe's outspoken stance cost him his job last season, but it remains to be seen if Sam's honesty hurts his career.

We can learn a lot about handling life in the public eye from sports figures who still have a lot to learn. By keeping in mind what can happen when you don't think before you speak, you can avoid making social blunders, keep your job and maybe even make a little more money than you would otherwise.