Recently drafted St. Louis Rams prospect Michael Sam, who aims to be the first openly gay payer to make an NFL roster, caused a stir Wednesday when the Oprah Winfrey Network announced Wednesday it would follow Sam’s “historic journey” to the NFL with a documentary.
Sam reportedly hadn’t informed the Rams, who drafted Sam 249th overall last weekend, of his plans to film his path to the NFL, or any other potential draft suitors for that matter, according to CBS Sports, for fear it would prevent him from getting drafted.
“According to ESPN.com, Sam and his representatives had known about the documentary prior to the NFL Draft, but they didn’t tell the Rams or any other team before the draft because they thought it would keep Sam from getting picked. Sam ended up getting taken in the seventh round with the 249th overall pick.”
The same report cites multiple unnamed players on the Rams roster as saying the documentary could become a bit of “distraction.”
Of the many miffed by the announcement is 106.7 The Fan’s Lavar Arrington, who feels a victim of Sam’s perceived cloak and dagger tactics in revealing his documentary plans. Arrington reacted on the radio Thursday afternoon.
“I’m one of the guys who stood up for the guy,” Arrington said. “I was on NFL Network standing up for the dude. Hope he plays well. Hope he gets drafted. Hope he gets an opportunity because of all the people that are saying he can’t do it.”
“You want to be a celebrity,” he would later state. “Just say you want to be a celebrity. Now you’ve been drafted, come out and say, ‘I know I’m not that good. I’ve looked at my combine film. I looked at it just like everybody else, I know I’m not fast; I know I’m not explosive out of my hips; I’m undersized. I know there are a lot of things, I just did this because I want to be a celebrity.’ Do it! You were brave enough to come out and say you’re gay!
“Just say you want to be a celebrity. ‘I don’t care if I make a team. I just want to be a celebrity. I want to do movies. I want to do a documentary.’ You’ve been drafted. It’s done. You got it! But don’t bring that drama and that confusion of trying to be more than just a football player to a team that believed enough in you to draft your ass.
“I think that’s bogus. That’s bogus. Oprah Winfrey? When does OWN have anything to do with the National Football League? You’re trying to glamorize it, like ‘Michael Sam is here. Stand with Sam!’ What the hell does that mean? Stand with Sam? You want to act like it’s not a bad thing? It’s not a negative thing to be gay? Then why are you positioning yourself like you’re some hero? Stand with Sam. Bitch, you got drafted! What are you talking about, stand with Sam?”
In an earlier segment, Arrington would infer Rams head coach Jeff Fisher had some ulterior motive behind drafting Sam, who he says likely won’t even make the Rams final roster in August.
“But you and I both know, since you want to do all this Oprah stuff, and you want to start selling t-shirts and making this into some lucrative deal,” Arrington said. “Now it comes across as a calculated plan, I’m gonna tap your ass right now. And here we go:
“You won’t even make the team! You probably won’t even make this team. And let’s be real here. There’s a strong possibility, if we’re gonna correlate the two – Jeff Fisher is very close with the NFL offices, he’s the head of the competitions committee, he is a very liberated person in how he does things, and very connected, plugged in, in-tune to the league; what league needs are; how public perception plays a part in this league, and keeping this league strong and different things like that – hey Mike, there’s a very specific reason why Jeff Fisher, of all coaches, was the one who insisted we take you in the draft.
“This is where I have a problem. Shut your hole. Keep your head down, and work. And work. You know what you need to say? ‘I am a St. Louis Ram, and I am going to do everything that I can, to not only be the best teammate that I can be, but first, make the team.’ That’s it!”
Lavar’s commentary would touch on perhaps some very gray matter of perception, with regard to how Sam will could possibly be remembered by the public as time passes, albeit with the sizable hypothetical caveat that he never amounts to anything of import on the field.
“Reality check,” Arrington said. “He will never be a football player. He will be the gay guy that plays football. Why? Because we make it that way.”
“Every single time we turn around, ‘Michael Sam.’ Michael Sam might not even touch the field. Michael Sam might not even make the team. Michael Sam, because of his sexual orientation. We need to stop acting like we’ve come so far in how we think and how we do things, man, that’s crazy to me.” - Chris Lingebach - washington.cbslocal.com