It seems Michael Sam and representatives did not disclose to the Rams or other teams his OWN documentary plan, fearing might not be picked
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) May 15, 2014
Michael Sam’s announcement about his documentary series on Oprah Winfrey’s network has been met with some backlash. In less than a week, the defensive end from Missouri went from being a guy most everyone was rooting for … to a guy who seems to have made a curious decision.
His agents are framing the documentary show – not a reality show, they’re quick to say – as chronicling history. Cameron Weiss, one of Sam’s agents, was on ESPN today and when asked whether or not teams knew that cameras would be documenting mini-camp and OTAs and training camp, said this: “We had conversations with the league office about the documentary, and the league was fine. The Rams didn’t know. The Rams did know before the announcement.”
The team hasn’t said anything yet, but you can imagine what they think about a 7th round pick who is far from a lock to make the team being followed by cameras off-the-field. Teams reportedly hate Hard Knocks so much that the NFL is going to force someone to do it.
As questions have been raised about the timing of the announcement and the need for the series, Sam’s camp noted on ESPN today that there will not be cameras on the field or at the St. Louis facility, but rather Sam’s personal life will be filmed away from the field with his family and friends.
“Being a football player and documenting history are not mutually exclusive,” Weiss told ESPN. “Just because Mike is the subject of a documentary – not a reality show – does not mean he can’t focus on football.”
That distinction will be an important one. Reality shows thrive on drama, and much of it is manufactured. The thing is, how interesting will this documentary be when Sam is with the team all day, except when he’s relaxing at night or eating breakfast in the morning? (Maybe he’ll pull an Asomugha and eat his lunch in his car?) Players spend countless hours together and bond at camp … are Sam’s fellow rookies and teammates going to want to be distracted – oh, not that word! – by cameras when they unwind at night? I wonder if the media will ask Jeff Fisher or the players about the documentary?
A tiny sampling of reaction from the web:
Jason Whitlock: “Oprah and her foundering TV network do not care about X’s and O’s. They care about salacious and sensational human drama and the kind of XOXOXs that take place in the bedroom. For context, OWN is the documentary-series home for Lindsay Lohan, the child actress-turned-serial drug-rehabber. That is not written to suggest OWN does not do and aspire to do high-end TV journalism (Lance Armstrong interview). It’s written to imply even Oprah’s standards cave to the demands of Nielsen ratings. Michael $am undermines the credibility of Michael Sam.”
Drew Magary: “It does him no favors to be part of this, but here we are anyway, and everything feels just a little icky. Our first openly gay player in the NFL is a total abstraction, a commercial for himself, an actor named Michael Sam playing the role of “Michael Sam” on The Michael Sam Show. Those quotation marks he’s trapped inside of are looking more and more like another kind of closet.”
Related: Michael Sam Was Drafted By The St. Louis Rams At No. 249 Overall
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