Football.com's Debate Team On The Michael Sam Show
By TJ Hatter
TJ Hatter: Thanks again for clicking on the Football.com Debate Team, a joint column between myself and Joe Scumaci wherein we try to be more intelligent than some of the other tired "Embrace Debate" themes out there and often fail. This week is about one topic and one topic only.
Joe Scumaci: Let's do this.
The Michael Sam Reality Show
TJ Hatter: The predominant sense of Twitter after Michael Sam was drafted and there was video of him celebrating broke into two camps. The Mr. Will Leitch Camp and the alternative. I've listened to the Paul Finebaum show the past few days on my long commute home and, after a few minutes, I had to stop or risk being even angrier while driving across Long Island than normal - since driving on Long Island raises the blood pressure - because of the sheer amount of stupid.
Am I gay? No. Do I have gay friends? Yes. Am I rooting for Michael Sam? Yes.
Are you allowed to hold an anti-Michael Sam opinion? Yes, you are. Am I allowed to show how incredibly dumb that opinion is and how useless you are for holding it? The market demands it. So I just want you to know that I acknowledge your rights, incredibly stupid people, and am respecting them by acknowledging that you have them. But please know that you're wrong. Also, file away that you're the historical equivalent to a speed bump (something that annoys and damages the car slightly, but also something that has no real impact on the value of the car...and you, dear bigot reader, should know that the owner of this mythical car will curse at you).
The market for a Michael Sam reality show exists. Nothing in this world is guaranteed and Sam has the ability to make money RIGHT NOW. Those who are begrudging him from doing so are, in some cases nuanced but more often than not the critics are merely using the reality show as an excuse to critique someone they weren't comfortable with from the jump and are trying to set themselves up as some sort of moral authority. In terms of the nuanced critique, is being in a reality show in his best interests as a football player? Probably not. Particularly since the NFL is a bunch of neurotic teenagers when it comes to "Distractions" which they use as an excuse more frequently than toddlers need fresh diapers.
But for Sam, the window to actually make money off of his football career is smaller than the window of a doll house. NFL loyalty is about as reliable as Bill Clinton showing up on time. Is it great that he's in a reality show? No. But send your concern trolling somewhere else, because Sam is all stocked up.
Joe Scumaci: When I first heard the news Sam is scheduled to do a reality show through the Oprah Winfrey Network, I literally shook my head.
I thought, “This guy is a phony. All the publicity, all the cameras, all the glitz and glamour of being a seventh-round pick on live television just to market your brand.”
I hated the idea. But when more details came out that it wasn’t going to involve the rigors of St. Louis Rams camp, I adjusted my stance. According to various sources, OWN has assured Sam and his camp that they will not be shooting any part of series at Rams minicamp, OTAs or training camp.
So the reality show doesn’t involve the locker room? The teammates? The two-a-days in the St. Louis heat?
OK, fine Sam. You do you. Cash in while you can, because we know damn well that the NFL is a dirty business. In fact, Sam is no guarantee to even make the 53-man roster as a lot of seventh-round draft picks usually don’t.
Many athletes have had reality shows during their playing careers. The one that quickly comes to mind is former NBA player Lamar Odom and his laughable relationship with one of the Kardashians. I can’t remember which one because there are so many and frankly I don’t care either, but I’m sure it was a nuisance for Lamar’s teammates having extra cameras following him around everywhere and filming his every word.
I’m fine with Michael pocketing the coin through the human cash cow herself, Oprah Winfrey, as long as it does not distract the organization that took a shot on him. Let’s face it, some guys in that locker room will be uncomfortable with him around whether they say it or not.
Others will be uncomfortable he gets his own reality show. Like this unnamed player here.
Sam is toeing a fine line here. Announcing the launch of a reality show less than a week from being drafted 249th overall is absolutely going to rub some players the wrong way. It’ll be interesting to see how this goes over with teammates. He could be cut before the end of camp and it’s all moot. Or the reality show is a hit and Oprah wants to do another season during the actual football season.
Hopefully, this doesn’t affect Michael’s focus on his main goal: making the football team. Because while it’s nice and all to make money fresh out of college, the NFL can end your dreams and those bright lights rather quickly.