He wants to be judged as a football player and not a gay football player, and while that may take a while to actually happen (if it ever does), the narrative surrounding Rams defensive end Michael Sam calmed somewhat when the OWN Network (Oprah Winfrey) reached agreement to indefinitely postpone a docu-series planned that would have chronicled Sam's efforts to make the team's roster.
That decision ended a roller-coaster week in which Sam was selected by the Rams in the seventh round (249th overall) on Saturday; was introduced to the media three days later in front of at least 12 cameras (including one from OWN); became the subject of more controversy the next day when the docu-series was announced by OWN; was on the field for the first day of rookie orientation the next day without the media present, while an anonymous teammate told ESPN there were some reservations from players about the docu-series; and then the announcement Friday about the series postponement only hours after Sam and the rest of the team's rookies worked out in front of the media and numerous cameras, including from OWN and other media.
The debate surrounding the series was mostly centered around Sam's frequent insistence that he wants to concentrate on football as well as some contradictory comments made by Sam's representatives.
At the Tuesday press conference, when asked how anxious he is for the discussion to be about football and if he thinks that will totally ever be the case, he said, "Oh, yeah, eventually it will. But, I understand that right now you guys want to make a big deal of it. When this (press conference) is over, then I can start doing that as fast as possible."
Little did anyone know at the time about the deal made with a media company to tell his story. The Rams weren't told until the day after the draft and the league also didn't know despite claims by agent Cameron Weiss they were informed before the draft.
"We had communicated to the league office what our plans were. They were aware of it. My partner and I (Joe Barkett) are not going to go around communicating to all 32 teams what's going on. It's not our place, especially when no deal was signed. It was signed in the days immediately (after) the draft. With the league having knowledge of it, we were comfortable," Weiss told CBSSports920.
However, NFL vice president of communications Brian McCarthy told the Post-Dispatch in an e-mail, "We learned of this in the days after the draft. As to having signed off on the project or granting rights or logos. ... We have not signed such an agreement."
The unidentified player said, "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. 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."
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Asked whether teammates support Sam's presence or were being politically correct, the player said, "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."
Meanwhile, Weiss also told the radio station filming wouldn't occur at Rams Park, saying, "Oprah was committed to doing this off the field. They are not filming during OTAs, rookie camp or training camp."
However, cameras were filming Friday while getting the same access as all media, and interviews about Sam were conducted with local media.
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After practice Friday, Weiss met with Rams personnel, and the decision occurred.
"After today's meeting with the Rams, we felt it is best to postpone the project. This will allow for Michael to have total focus on football, and will ensure no distractions to his teammates. Everybody involved remains committed to the project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message," Weiss said in a statement.
Also in a statement, OWN president Erik Logan said, "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 dreams of making the team. OWN is about elevating and empowering people to achieve their best. It's clear that we, along with the world, recognize the opportunity that Michael has in this moment. We will continue to support him in his journey to earn a spot playing for the Rams."
That will continue Monday as Rams rookies participate in skill development with the veterans prior to the June 3 start of OTAs.
Howard Balzer hosts "H and Friends" Monday-Friday from 9-11 on Fox Sports 1490 The Champ. He is also a host on SiriusXM NFL Radio and one of 44 selectors for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.