As team after team passed over University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam in last week’s NFL draft, conventional wisdom was that teams were afraid that the openly gay Sam would be a “distraction.” (Less conventional wisdom said that it was because of his small size and poor performance at the Scouting Combine.) The argument against the “distraction” theory is that Sam was already out to his Mizzou teammates, and the Tigers were ranked fifth in the country while also winning their division and the Cotton Bowl—so they couldn’t have been all that distracted. The St. Louis Rams obviously believed that enough to draft Sam in the final round, despite already having two of the best defensive ends in the league.
And now, as Sam prepares to join the Rams’ training camp, he brings with him… a distraction. This distraction comes in the form of TV cameras, as Oprah’s OWN network will be filming a documentary series that will follow Sam in the preseason, as he works to prove himself worthy of making the team, without distracting his teammates, coaches, and fans with his homosexuality. Just with his reality show.
Winfrey made the very Oprah-like statement that, “We are honored that Michael is trusting us with his private journey in this moment that has not only made history but will shape it forever.” We’re not sure half of that sentence actually means anything, but it sure is inspiring—plus, Winfrey gets bonus points for using the royal ‘we’. No word as to when the series will air, but football season seems like a good bet.
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