Oprah Winfrey’s cable television network, OWN, has ordered a multi-part docu-series based on openly gay American footballer, Michael Sam and his attempt to earn a spot on St Louis Rams’ final roster.
The Defensive end, who came out in February with interviews with both ESPN and The New York Times, has divided football fans with his decision to embrace a life followed by reality TV cameras. The University of Missouri graduate made what has been described as “one of the most memorable televised moments ever for sports and equal rights fans” when he broke down in tears and kissed his boyfriend, 23 year-old swimmer Vito Camissano, upon being drafted by NFL’s St Louis Rams in the seventh round on May 10.
The moment was seen by most as a compelling example of genuine human happiness that could be recognised by people regardless of their sexuality, however, the announcement of Sam’s venture into the often not-so-genuine world of reality TV has left some football fans questioning if the 24-year-old is “fame-hungry”.
Drew Magary of Deadspin wrote: “Sam asked fans a few months ago to invest in him in a very different way than they do in say, Johnny Manziel, now he’s chosen the favoured path of every D-list asshole in America”.
Howard Bragman, Sam’s publicist who will also feature as a producer on the docu-series, combatted the comments, stating simply: “Football remains Sam’s priority”.
The documentary will be executive produced by Craig Piligian of Pilgrim Studios and directed by Amy Rice, who both most recently worked on Lindsay Lohan’s reality project, Lindsay, also for the OWN Network.
Speaking about the show, Winfrey said: “We are honoured that Michael is trusting us with his private journey in this moment that has not only made history but will shape it forever. The next real-life story we follow in the as-yet untitled Michael Sam project promises to spark valuable, important discussion on life in America today”
“Acceptance and illumination start here”, the 60-year-old TV legend concluded.
What do you guys think, is Sam’s decision a step forward for the world, or rather a personal misstep? Let us know by using the hashtag #MichaelSam
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