Michael Sam has been in the headlines again since becoming a seventh-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, with the latest wrinkle being his docu-series that will air on Oprah's network. The reality series of him trying to make the St. Louis Rams opening day roster has been met with some negative backlash, but the Rams organization is not concerned.
According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, a source says the Rams are even willing to work with Sam to make sure everything works out best for all parties involved.
"The Rams intend to cooperate with Sam in a way that will make the entire situation — including reality show — work out for everyone," Florio wrote.
If some NFL teams are willing to have cameras invade their team facilities and follow them around during training camp for a show like HBO's Hard Knocks, there is no reason that the Rams couldn't find a way to allow one player to film a short series that will document his journey and struggles as the NFL's first openly gay player.
Sam's reality series wouldn't be any self-serving show that has the purpose of just landing him more attention in the spotlight. Instead, it is something that will help highlight the progress that the league is making and the show could end up inspiring others.
While the Rams didn't know about the documentary beforehand, there has been a report by Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that the NFL had known about Sam's involvement with the documentary but that the league hadn't informed any of its teams before the draft.
The NFL was quick to deny it had any previous knowledge. NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello says the league "did not know anything about [Sam's OWN deal] until after the draft and have not agreed to anything about it."
Either way, the Rams have a much bigger distraction on their hands than they orginally expected when they selected Sam.
"If the Rams weren't duped, they were at least gently misled by the league's silence," Strauss wrote. "Fisher thought enough about Sam's presence that on Monday he imported retired NFL cornerback and current activist Wade Davis to counsel his locker room, coaches and front office about a situation some might see as uncomfortable. No player griped. Several already had supported Sam via social media. However, a number of players apparently voiced displeasure to management Thursday shortly after learning about the Oprah project. "An uplifting narrative now becomes tinged by collateral controversy."