An ESPN report on the shower habits of openly gay St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam generated outrage on Twitter Tuesday as fans questioned the need to scrutinize a nonfootball detail. The 23-year-old is currently awaiting head coach Jeff Fisher’s decision as to whether or not he will make the Rams’ 53-man roster.
ESPN reporter Josina Anderson was asked on Tuesday's edition of “SportsCenter” if Sam, a seventh-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, was fitting in with his teammates in St. Louis. Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford said Sam was “just one of the guys,” Anderson reported, but a second Rams player reportedly commented on the rookie’s shower etiquette.
Another Rams defensive player told me that “Sam is respecting our space.” From his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is waiting to take a shower, as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable while Langford and linebacker Alec Ogletree told me that they didn’t know that specifically and also weren’t tracking that.
While Langford told me, “Listen, I have not been in the shower at the same time as Michael Sam,” he said that there definitely could be a million reasons as to why that is. He said [Sam] could be doing extra work on the practice field, he could be riding his bike, he could be doing extra cardio. But overall, Langford said, he seems to be adjusting to the life in the NFL and the speed of the game."
In the past, several football pundits have openly speculated as to whether Sam’s sexual orientation would affect his ability to make an NFL roster. Former head coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy apologized in July after admitting he would not have wanted Sam to play for one of his teams.
Anderson’s coverage caused outrage among Twitter users, many of whom lambasted the network for setting aside airtime for what they deemed a superfluous issue. A roundup of some of the most critical responses to ESPN’s report can be found below.
ESPN is trash. All they talk about is LeBron and Michael Sam. I'm done watching for good.
— Rondo Numba 9 (@ForeverGreen_) August 26, 2014
Please keep ignoring Hockey, @ESPN. If this is how you're going to treat Michael Sam, we don't want you.
— Casey (@Raedances) August 26, 2014
— Jonathan Zaslow (@ZaslowShow) August 26, 2014
Only surprise about ESPN detailing Michael Sam's shower habits is that Skip and Stephen A. weren't the ones all over it.
— SI_DougFarrar (@SI_DougFarrar) August 26, 2014
Reporting on Michael Sam's showering habits might be the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
— Dustin Fox (@DustinFox37) August 26, 2014
ESPN reporting about Rams players and their shower preferences with Michael Sam shows exactly how poor the state of journalism is in the US
— Big Blue United (@InReeseWeTrust) August 26, 2014
— Isaac (@WorldofIsaac) August 26, 2014
Disgraceful. RT @DJ_Bean SportsCenter had Josina Anderson doing update on which players have/haven't showered at same time as Michael Sam.
— Jimmy Traina (@JimmyTraina) August 26, 2014
Really? Are we really REPORTING on whether or not Michael Sam has showered with his teammates? Just stop.
— Katie Nolan (@katienolan) August 26, 2014
Michael Sam shower reports on ESPN? Close it down. We're done http://t.co/04fhT3ayb7
— The Packer Ranter (@PackerRanter) August 26, 2014
— Molly Yanity (@mollyyanity) August 26, 2014
ESPN discussing which Rams teammates had/had not yet taken a shower with Michael Sam seems a bit much.
— Shaners (@ShanersMD) August 26, 2014