A planned reality TV show centered on Rams rookie defensive end Michael Sam has been placed on hold.
The Oprah Winfrey Network announced that it is postponing the Sam reality show, after Sam faced criticism from those who said his decision to become the focal point of a TV show was incompatible with his claims that he’s totally focused on football.
Sam’s agent released a statement saying, “After today’s meeting with the Rams, we collectively feel it is best to postpone the project. 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.”
When the project was announced on Wednesday, Sam said in a statement that, “my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability.” And the show was reportedly slated to show Sam hard at work trying to make the Rams’ roster.
But by Thursday, Sam had begun facing criticism by fans and members of the media who questioned whether he was more interested in becoming a star than a football player. More importantly, at least one Rams player had concerns, and there were conflicting reports about whether the NFL was aware of Sam’s plans to participate in the reality TV show.
OWN says it continues to support Sam. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him working with the network at some point, but that point will not be this summer, while all of Sam’s work will be football-focused.