Michael Sam is the first openly gay football player to be taken in the NFL draft. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) announced Wednesday an order for a documentary series following the life of Michael Sam and his pursuit of an NFL career as the first openly gay football player drafted into the league.
Sam, who publicly announced he was gay before the NFL Draft, was selected by the St. Louis Rams as the 249th overall pick in the seventh round on Saturday.
Winfrey said OWN is privileged to have Sam's trust with the documentary project: (via press release)
“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 Oprah Winfrey. “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.”
Sam, the 2014 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, said his focus remains on making the Rams' roster:
“Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability,” said Sam. “I am determined. And if seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that’s great. I am thankful to Oprah for her support and excited to work together.”
SI.com VIDEO: Michael Sam declares 'I will make this team'
According to OWN, Emmy-winning producer Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Studios and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Amy Rice (By the People: The Election of Barack Obama
) will produce the project.