The Oprah Winfrey Network has decided to postpone the proposed Michael Sam documentary after speaking with the St. Louis Rams, ESPN's Chris Mortensen is reporting:
Good work by Michael Sam's reps - OWN has announced that documentary plans are now postponed. On Hold.— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) May 16, 2014
This news comes after what was an ongoing swell of negativity surrounding Sam. While he's been met with almost universal praise after revealing that he's gay and subsequently became the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft, most questioned his decision to have a documentary crew follow his every action off the field.
ESPN's Josina Anderson spoke with a Rams player who said, "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."
Albert Breer of NFL Network summed up the general sentiment of many media members:
My own feeling on this is that if Sam wanted to have things be all about football from here on out, cutting that deal wasn't the way to go.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) May 15, 2014
Just how much of a distraction the OWN documentary truly would have been is up for debate. However, the perception was that Sam was more concerned with increasing his profile at the expense of his team, and as the saying goes, perception is reality.
Postponing the documentary thus sends the message that the former Missouri star doesn't care about the attention and is focused only on his football career.
Sports Illustrated's Richard Deitsch wonders if Sam's biggest critics will change their tune:
Michael Sam's doc being shelved sets up the new narrative that he's a team guy. Take it away, Cowherd and ESPN2. #OnToTheNextOne— Richard Deitsch (@richarddeitsch) May 16, 2014
Discretion was arguably the better part of valor here. The idea of a documentary following Sam around isn't a bad one, but it would be much better timed in the event he makes the Rams roster and establishes himself as an NFL player.
Sam doesn't need to give his doubters any more ammunition.