Two days after Oprah Winfrey’s OWN announced a docu-series about Michael Sam, the first openly gay football player to be drafted into the NFL, the network is putting the project on hold. “After careful consideration and discussion with the St. Louis Rams, The Untitled Michael Sam Project has been postponed, allowing Michael the best opportunity to achieve his dream of making the team,” the network said today. “We will continue to support him in his journey to earn a spot playing for the Rams.” The decision comes after the announcement of Sam’s OWN series was met with mixed reaction, with some contending it could be a distraction, and the NFL denying it had any knowledge of it before the draft.
Produced in partnership with Pilgrim Studios and filmmaker Amy Rice, the Untitled Michael Sam Project was to take an up-close look at the All-American defensive end and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year as he enters the competitive world of pro football. Cameras were to follow Sam as he works to earn his spot on the Rams all while under the intense scrutiny of being the first openly gay player in the NFL. “After today’s meeting with the Rams, we collectively feel it is best to postpone the project,” said Sam’s agent, Cameron Weiss of Empire Athletes. “This will allow for Michael to have a total focus on football, and will ensure no distractions to his teammates. Everybody involved remains committed to this project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message.”