Before making doing a final save of each of my posts on this blog, I select a few categories that indicate the nature of the subject matter.
Prior to saving this particular post, I chose the usual categories of "Game Time" (code for "Sean wrote this") and "Sports" (because that's what I generally write about), and I also checked off "Football." But "football" isn't entirely accurate. I mean, this is a post about football insomuch as it pertains to Michael Sam, who is a football player for the St. Louis Rams.
However, the post itself has very little to do with the actual game of football. Since it's a report from Rams' training camp, it should, in theory, have everything to do with the game of football -- it should be about Michael Sam's ability to rush the passer, his contributions on special teams, or maybe his sack of Johnny Manziel on Saturday night.
But it doesn't. And we have ESPN to thank for that.
You see, Michael Sam, as you almost assuredly know if you're reading this "Sports" post, is gay, the first openly gay active football player in NFL history. Sam has been open in his sexuality since early February, so we've all had time to acclimate ourselves to the newness of having a gay football player in our lives.
Apparently, though, ESPN is still having trouble wrapping their collective brain around the presence of a gay player in an NFL locker room.
On Tuesday afternoon, SportsCenter gave us one of the most bizarre player status updates in the history of the program, which is saying something considering we are living in an age that includes Tim Tebow, Aaron Hernandez, and Johnny Manziel's Instagram account.
So let's send it to Josina Anderson at Rams' training camp with her update on Michael Sam and his adjustment to the NFL....
0:20 -- Jay Crawford asks "How is he fitting in with his Rams teammates so far?" A fair enough question regardless of Sam's sexual orientation, I suppose.
0:23 -- Apparently, Anderson spoke to defensive tackle Kendall Langford who said that Sam is just "one of the guys" and he's "listening and learning" like any good rookie. Seems innocent enough.
0:40 -- Anderson: "But..." (uh oh)
0:42 -- "....another Rams defensive player told me that Sam is 'respecting our space and he seems to think that Michael Sam is waiting to kind of take a shower..."
0:51 -- Wait...WHA'?!? Tell me she didn't just say that! Tell me Josina Anderson didn't just update us on Michael Sam's shower schedule and portray him as intentionally steering clear of teammates for fear of making them uncomfortable! That just happened? Wait, what? There's more? Oh continue, Josina, by all means...
0:58 -- "...Langford and linebacker Alec Ogletree told me they didn't know that specifically and also weren't tracking [Sam's shower schedule]." My favorite part of this portion is Anderson's reporting Langford's and Ogletree's aversion to tracking Sam's shower schedule, as if someone actually should be tracking it, like they were serious about someone pulling out a clipboard or an iPad and charting Sam's time in the shower.
When Michael Sam first made his announcement, one of the first questions that was batted around on ESPN and other outlets was how teammates would accept showering with him, which a) ignored the fact that his Missouri teammates (with whom he presumably showered) knew all season in 2013 that he was gay and which b) seemed to firmly put into play the theory that Sam would spend his entire time in NFL showers trying to have sexual relations with his teammates.
Honestly, who cares what life in the showers would be like for Michael Sam, or his teammates? Well, apparently, not only did ESPN see it as a viable question at draft time, but they will continue to provide updates on the "Sam shower scene" as his professional career unfolds.
Because apparently, they think we need to know. Sam's teammate Chris Long seems to respectfully disagree....
Everyone but you is over it.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 26, 2014
Exactly, Chris. Exactly.
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