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SBD/February 10, 2014/Media
Michael Sam Moves Up Coming Out Announcement After Several Leaks
Published February 10, 2014
LOCALS KNEW, BUT HELD THE NEWS: The Columbia MISSOURIAN's Greg Bowers writes under the header, "The Sam Story Began Brewing In August." Reporter Erik Hall "wanted to try to localize" Russia President Vladimir Putin's "anti-gay propaganda stance" before the Sochi Games. Hall "went to work" and "came back with some names" including Sam's. Hall "called Sam and asked if he would agree to an interview to talk about his sexuality." Sam "agreed," then "changed his mind." Sam "never refused to do the interview, just said, 'He wasn't ready.'" Sam at one point "even suggested that 'we were trying to out him.'" Bowers: "We weren’t. As far as we were concerned, only one person could out him, and that was Sam. ... We could've written the story. Other journalists might have written the story. But it wasn't the right thing to do" (Columbia MISSOURIAN, 2/10).
MEDIA MONITOR: Sam’s announcement was covered by all three network morning shows before their first commercial breaks. CBS' Norah O'Donnell said it had the potential to be a "watershed moment in American sports" ("CBS This Morning," CBS, 2/10). ABC's George Stephanopoulos said Sam's announcement was "groundbreaking news for the NFL." ABC's Josh Elliott: "I do hope the world that he is entering is ready for him and those 32 front offices as well. But what a brave young man" ("GMA," ABC, 2/10). NBC's Willie Geist said, "You're already hearing some anonymous NFL sources saying, 'Well, he could be a distraction in the locker room with his new issue.' But he wasn't so much of a distraction for a team that played in the SEC Championship game, went 12-2 and won the Cotton Bowl" ("Today," NBC, 2/10).