NFL's First Openly Gay Player Michael Sam to Star in Oprah's Docuseries: Is This The Right Play?

Source: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images
St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam hasn't had the most typical experience as a newly drafted NFL player. As an NFL prospect, he made headlines by coming out to the public, and weeks later he became the first openly gay player in the NFL.  Sam continues to take the road less traveled by starring in an OWN TV docuseries that chronicles his life on and off the field. But is doing TV the right play for Sam? Let's explore the pros/cons:

PROS:

Well, Oprah's involved. Needless to say, Sam made a smart move in agreeing to have his story presented through the almighty lens of the Oprah Winfrey Network. What could go wrong working with Oprah the Media queen, the giver of dreams, the mother savior of ensuring all is righteous on Earth? Sure, she may've bitten off more than she could chew with Lindsay Lohan, but the fact that she gives away free cars and stuff should make up for that. 

Even though I'm sure Sam's aim isn't to become more famous, his show will help shed some light on who he truly is: a normal guy who plays football and happens to be gay. Maybe the boneheads who appear to be offended by Sam's mere presence will reconsider their narrow-minded perspectives. Also here's to hoping Sam's goal of becoming a "beacon" for other players actually works, making those who have yet to openly declare their homosexuality comfortable enough to do so, if they so choose.

CONS

Despite everyone's preoccupation with Sam's sexual orientation, let us not forget that he does have a job to do-- and that's football. Imagine the pressure that awaits him upon entering his rookie season and adjusting to the NFL. To be frank, those adjustments will likely include the ones being made by the NFL, who despite officially embracing Sam, surely employ players who do not. These conditions will undoubtedly intensify the experience of being filmed. It's way too early in the game for him to go the route of Lamar Odom, who obviously had other issues but blamed some of them on the presence of cameras.

Putting his life further on display has the potential to make him the target of more anti-gay attacks, but his very intentional decision to come out prior to the draft and agree to a TV deal means he owns thick enough skin to deal with whatever additional scrutiny he may endure. If there's one thing we know by now, Sam's not interested in taking the easy route. Without his motivation, there may not be an avenue for his revolution to be televised.


Must Reads