NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Oprah Winfrey plans on making sure that if Michael Sam makes even more history, you’ll be able to see it as it happens.
The Oprah Winfrey Network announced Wednesday that it will be producing a multi-part documentary series chronicling Sam’s attempt to become the first openly gay player in NFL history to make a team. The network will follow the former SEC Defensive Player of the Year around as he tries to earn his keep during St. Louis Rams training camp this summer.
In a news release, OWN said it will try its luck at “Hard Knocks”-type coverage, with cameras following Sam as much as the NFL will allow. Just how much access the network gets to the Rams’ locker room and practice field remains to be seen.
“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,” Winfrey said 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.”
Sam became the first openly gay player to be drafted by an NFL team when the Rams took him in the seventh round on the third day of the draft last Saturday at Radio City Music Hall.
Many in the media have speculated that Sam, who is 6-foot-2 and 260 pounds, is simply too small to play defensive end in a 4-3 defense and not good enough in coverage to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 in the NFL. Yet the Rams, probably the ideal choice considering how close they are to Sam’s alma mater, the University of Missouri, said they had no concerns selecting him.
Upon hearing the news, Sam was captured on camera kissing his boyfriend. The reaction was mixed, with former Giant Derrick Ward highly critical of both Sam and ESPN, which aired the moment.
Since the draft, Sam’s jersey sales have skyrocketed.
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