The Oprah Winfrey Network is set to begin production on a documentary series surrounding Michael Sam, a plan that Sam and his representatives knew about before the draft. The problem? The latter group didn't disclose that fact to the St. Louis Rams or other teams.
Per ESPN's Ed Werder, Sam and Co. didn't disclose their OWN documentary plans to teams ahead of the draft out of fear that he "might not be picked." St. Louis scooped up Sam at pick No. 249 overall.
Cameras were following Sam on draft day, and the series, which is expected to last between six to eight episodes, will follow Sam's journey this summer as he attempts to make the Rams roster.
At the scouting combine in February, Sam said he wanted the attention focused on his football abilities, not his sexual orientation. “I just wish you guys would just see me as Michael Sam the football player,” he said, “instead of Michael Sam the gay football player.”
And yet, as a statement from Winfrey reveals, this series is very much focused on the history Sam will be making.
"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," said Winfrey, in a statement. "I am proud of the focus on authentic storytelling in our new documentary series format. The next real-life story we follow in 'The Untitled Michael Sam Project' promises to spark valuable, important discussion on life in America today. Acceptance and illumination start here."
While the Rams themselves have yet to make any comment about the production, Sam's agent, Cameron Weiss, said filmmakers agreed shooting would not include any Rams owned real estate.
"OWN's cameras would never be able to go to the Rams' facility to be inside the locker room, to get on the field, because nobody has those rights besides the NFL." Weiss was asked if the filmmakers had approached team officials to shoot at the Rams facility and said, "It wasn't asked at all. We wouldn't put the Rams in that position."
The documentary currently remains unnamed, and there is not a scheduled release date. [si_video id="video_43BB0A4B-FF59-FB24-F0E1-F62AF837EBA5" height="470"]