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Oprah Winfrey Greenlights The Inevitable Michael Sam Documentary Series

michael-sam-delorean-burkman (1)To mark Michael Sam’s historic entrance into the NFL as the league’s first openly gay player, the Oprah Winfrey Network has ordered a multi-part documentary series that will chronicle his personal and professional life as he becomes the first LGBT ambassador to the largest professional sports league in America.

The still-untitled series will reportedly follow Sam from the moment he was drafted to the St. Louis Rams until he hits the field with his brand new team, while observing the challenges that come with being a controversial figure and one of the most-noted rookies.

According to Out Sports, a camera crew for the documentary was in the room to film the smooch seen ’round the world when Sam first received the news, though they’re being careful not to “interfere with his primary goal.” “Michael is focused on football and making the St. Louis Rams team,” said Howard Bragman, Sam’s publicist who is also a producer of the docu-series.

“We are honored that Michael is trusting us with his private journey in this moment that has not only made history but will shape it forever,” said Oprah. “I am proud of the focus on authentic storytelling in our new documentary series format. The next real-life story we follow in ‘The Untitled Michael Sam Project’ promises to spark valuable, important discussion on life in America today. Acceptance and illumination start here.”

“Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability,” Sam added. “I am determined. And if seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that’s great. I am thankful to Oprah for her support and excited to work together.”

A premiere date has yet to be announced.

By:           Matthew Tharrett
On:           May 15, 2014
Tagged: , , ,

  • 29 Comments
    • BJ McFrisky
      BJ McFrisky

      I applaud Sam’s achievement as a football player, but I fear the backlash from an overwhelming tsunami of All Things Michael Sam. It’s a great step, but let’s be careful about deifying the man—if something less than savorable ever surfaces about him, there will be a lot of faces with egg on them.

      May 15, 2014 at 10:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @BJ McFrisky:

      I get what you are saying, however, I think that too many people worry about a backlash that hasn’t appeared.

      HRC never wanted to fight for DADT repeal because of possible Backlash, they never wanted to fight for marriage because of backlash.

      The only backlash is from people that actually help the cause. People like the Westboro Baptist Church, and the usual suspects in the anti-woman, anti-minority, anti-gay crowd.

      Every time somebody like Newt gingrich or Bill O’Reilly rants about gays on TV a few more people come over to the side of gay rights. Let them flip out all they want.

      As for Sam’s documentary, I’m assuming it couldn’t be as bad as the Lohan one. lol

      May 15, 2014 at 11:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • money718
      money718

      So the kiss and cake were staged. Figures.

      May 15, 2014 at 11:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • xzall
      xzall

      @money718: What illogical leap of logic made you come to that conclusion? The documentary hasn’t even started yet.

      May 15, 2014 at 12:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • drivendervish
      drivendervish

      I think it is a huge mistake for Michael to do this. This situation is being blown way out of proportion. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal and it would be best if he moved out of the spotlight and let his performance on the team do the talking. Being drafted doesn’t mean your guaranteed a place on the team and he’s going to have to be really, really good if he expects to play on Sunday. There is a tremendous amount of pressure on this guy to succeed because of what failure will mean to the GBLT community and the last thing he needs is a spotlight. Oprah can talk about authentic storytelling but her last documentary was on Lindsay Lohan and there was nothing authentic about that debacle. This is a story to tell many years down the line after Michael has had a long and fruitful career in the NFL.

      May 15, 2014 at 12:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • money718
      money718

      @xzall: Did you read the article? “According to Out Sports, a camera crew for the documentary was in the room to film the smooch heard ’round the world when Sam first received the news..”

      May 15, 2014 at 12:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @money718:

      And every OTHER drafted player that is filmed kissing their mothers, Wives and girlfriends? They all have camera crews in the room, area all those kisses staged too?

      Sheesh.

      May 15, 2014 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • money718
      money718

      @Cam: Don’t be naive.

      May 15, 2014 at 1:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID
      PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID

      “Howard Bragman, Sam’s publicist who is also a producer of the docu-series.”

      I stopped reading there. That’s all I needed to know.

      May 15, 2014 at 2:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • doug105
      doug105

      Too soon?

      May 15, 2014 at 2:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GermanPenguin
      GermanPenguin

      @money718: Don’t be overly cynical.

      May 15, 2014 at 2:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • money718
      money718

      Oh boy. Per ESPN:

      An unidentified player on the St. Louis Rams says Michael Sam’s upcoming reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network could potentially cause friction.

      “It’s an interesting case that he gets to work with Oprah and have his own show, but I think it does raise eyebrows and it may be somewhat of a distraction,” the player told ESPN’s Josina Anderson. “But this is our first time dealing with something like this, so we’ll have to wait and see how it plays out and how people react.”

      The player also isn’t certain if teammates are truly embracing Sam’s presence or just being politically correct when it comes to accepting the NFL’s first openly gay player.

      “Clearly I’m not sure how everyone feels, but from what I can tell so far I think it’s a little bit of both, honestly,” he said.

      May 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Blackceo
      Blackceo

      Hmm…I think he should make the team first and then possibly do the documentary. He already has enough pressure on him to make the team. Now he will have these cameras following him and stuff. One thing at a time Michael.

      May 15, 2014 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DK
      DK

      @Blackceo: Agreed. He hasn’t even made the team yet. His team has made many smart moves, but this is moving into overexposure territory. He has enough pressure and spotlight as it is, why put more targets on his back? His focus now should be on performing as well as possible at his job, which includes laying low and not allowing hoopla to overwhelm his teammates. I hope they reconsider.

      May 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      @money718:

      Your comments are all over the map.

      FIRST you said that the kiss was planned because there were cameras in the room. When I pointed out that every other drafted player who kisses their girlfriend or wife ALSO has cameras in the room so does that mean they their’s were planned, you couldn’t respond directly.

      Then you post something up about the documentary effecting the other players, which has nothing to do with your first comment.

      Look, we get it, you don’t like Sam. But at least try to stay on the topic.

      May 15, 2014 at 4:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • solacesoul
      solacesoul

      The cake-smothered kisses were definitely not spontaneous. Outsports is reporting that there was a camera team from OWN filming the draft announcement at the agent’s house in the room where all the action took place. Fame-starved Sam and Vito definitely played it up for Hollywood.

      May 15, 2014 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Black Pegasus
      Black Pegasus

      When I first read the headline, I thought this May be one of those “distractions” many anti gay homophobes warned against. Now I feel this may be a good way to introduce this man to weary straight people who may not be anti gay, but do harbor some unfounded fears about gay people. It will be a docu-series so I’m comfortable with that format.

      May 15, 2014 at 5:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DuMaurier
      DuMaurier

      Thank God other posts have expressed my feelings on this so I didn’t have to come off like a McFrisky ally (No offense, BJ) I don’t see how anyone can think this is a good idea. He should be taking this time to blend in with the team, quietly and professionally, be like everybody else. This plays into the homophobic idea that Sam’s just a symbolic PR stunt.

      May 15, 2014 at 6:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • james_in_cambridge
      james_in_cambridge

      @DuMaurier: Well put! I hope everyone reads your comment, especially this part: “He should be taking this time to blend in with the team, quietly and professionally, be like everybody else. This plays into the homophobic idea that Sam’s just a symbolic PR stunt.”

      I too hope he works hard and stays humble. If he goes Hollywood and gets cut from the team, a lot of homophobes are going to be ecstatic and Sam is going to embarrass a lot of people. The great silent majority of Nixon’s day is actually now with us, including the NFL, which is trying hard to be an ally to our community, but that doesn’t mean this whole thing still can’t backfire and hurt us if the perception is that all Sam wants is to be the new Kardashian. Sam clearly wants to be a symbol and he likes the spotlight but he’s young so let’s just hope that he has the right temperament*.

      *Those of you who haven’t seen the movie “42″ should see it immediately (it’s still playing on HBO I believe.) It shows the price someone like Sam pays being the first of his kind in sports and how important it is to not only succeed on the field but to keep your head down and not stoop to the level of the bigots.

      May 15, 2014 at 7:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • money718
      money718

      @Cam: Are you slow? I stand behind my 1st comment. So how many other 7th rd picks had a camera crew from a non-sports network filming a documentary while the player waited to be drafted? ZERO. Of course they spiced it up for the camera. Geez.

      I’m not explaining how the quote from the player relates to the article.

      So because I disagree with the documentary (overexposure), I dislike Michael? Again are you slow?

      May 15, 2014 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Snapper59
      Snapper59

      “I want to be known as a great football player rather than only as a gay football player.”
      He now seems totally unserious to me and it’s obvious he’s being given very bad career advice from people looking to profit from him only as a gay football player. I read one comment “I’m straight and I wanted very much to support him and now I really couldn’t care if he makes the team or not.” I believe that isn’t too hard to believe it came from the heart.

      May 15, 2014 at 8:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • sportyguy1983
      sportyguy1983

      A reality show? Only fame seeking whores do reality show. Guess he doesn’t want to be taken serious.

      May 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • solacesoul
      solacesoul

      Here is the column from ESPN commentator Jason Whitlock that brilliantly and fairly sums up what a bad idea this docuseries is for both Sam and the LGBT sports movement:

      http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10937109/michael-sam-needs-send-message-making-roster-nfl

      May 16, 2014 at 6:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tackle
      Tackle

      @solacesoul: Thank’s for the link. The writer summed-up everything. It’s obvious the whole thing was staged as the handlers already had the deal made, and filimg the whole event. At one point, you can even see a camera man filming as Micheal and his bf were kissing. What 7th round draft pick, has a cake on hand, and smashes it in the face of a loved one and then makes-out? This was waaayyy over the top. And for a reason. The docuseries. Micheal is being given bad advice, and he’s gonna find out the hard way, that in America, they love to build you up one minute, then tare you down the next. And everyone loves a winner, even LGBTQ people. And when and if Micheal does not produce, he’s gonna be deserted in droves…

      May 16, 2014 at 10:51 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • money718
      money718

      G@solacesoul: Great article. Too bad Sam is surrounded by a bunch of greedy pricks, including Vito.

      May 16, 2014 at 11:05 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MarionPaige
      MarionPaige

      From what I read, the shelf-life of the average pro football player is four years. So, at best, the NFL is a temp job / stepping stone to something else, ASSUMING YOU MAKE IT OUT OF THE NFL NOT PERMANENTLY DISABLED. Wouldn’t it be pretty stupid to risk being permanently disabled for the rest of your life over a 3 year temp job?

      May 16, 2014 at 5:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DK
      DK

      @MarionPaige: No, not when you’re going to earn in that four years more than most people make in their entire lives.

      May 16, 2014 at 6:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DK
      DK

      @money718: How do you know Vito is a “greedy prick”? Futhermore, how do you know Michael Sam isn’t a “greedy prick”?

      Bitter bro?

      May 16, 2014 at 6:04 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • solacesoul
      solacesoul

      Looks like Oprah heard how many people, including the Rams and the NFL, think what a gawdawful idea it was to do this Michael Sam Show right now. Also, OWN did not get any advance permission from the NfL or the Rams to film on their property or to use their names, logos or players’ and their employees likenesses — so the deal is off. OWN really should have considered and handled all of that before they jumped the gun and announced it!
      http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/10944070/michael-sam-documentary-oprah-winfrey-network-postponed

      May 16, 2014 at 8:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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