ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis/AP) — Is Michael Sam already becoming a distraction to the St. Louis Rams?
An unnamed Rams player told ESPN Thursday that Sam’s upcoming reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network could become a distraction for the organization.
“It’s an interesting case that he gets to work with Oprah and have his own show, but I think it does raise eyebrows and it may be somewhat of a distraction,” the player told ESPN. “But this is our first time dealing with something like this, so we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out and how people react.”
The player also said he’s unsure if teammates are embracing Sam or just being politically correct as to not cause any controversy.
“Clearly I’m not sure how everyone feels, but from what I can tell so far I think it’s a little bit of both, honestly,” he told ESPN.
The series will take an up-close look at the openly gay football player recently drafted by the Rams in a groundbreaking moment in professional sports. Cameras will follow the former University of Missouri football player as he works to earn a spot on the Rams while under a media microscope.
OWN President Erik Logan said there are currently no plans to shoot Sam at practice or during any on-field activities at the team’s facility.
“The intention of this documentary has always been to follow Michael at the center of this historic moment in professional sports, and to shine a light on his courage and determination to make the St. Louis Rams’ roster,” Logan said in a statement to ESPN.
Cameron Weiss, Sam’s agent, said the team did not know about the documentary before drafting the SEC Defensive Player of the Year.
“We did our best to communicate to the league. We did not know what team he was going to and when he was going to that team,” Weiss told ESPN. “So, as soon as he was (drafted), that’s when the communication started and it is ongoing and continuing. We’re very committed to not infringing on the Rams, their autonomy or taking away in any way from their product on the field or their operations. We’re not going to be interviewing any players. We’re not going to have coaches, front office or teammates be a part of this. We’re not going to be at meetings, and we’re not going to be at the team facility or hotel.”
Sam says it would be great if his story can lead others to accept who they are and go for their dreams.
OWN did not specify a premiere date for the as-yet-untitled series or how many episodes it will be.
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