SBD/August 27, 2014/Media

ESPN Apologizes For Discussing Michael Sam's Showering Habits In Recent Report

Anderson reported on how Sam was adjusting to life with his teammates
ESPN this morning issued an apology for a report that aired on "SportsCenter" yesterday regarding the showering habits of openly gay Rams DE Michael Sam, saying it "regrets the manner in which we presented our report." The net said in a statement, "Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports" (ESPN). ESPN's Josina Anderson included the notes about Sam's showering habits in a piece detailing how he "was adjusting to his life with his new teammates." ESPN initially defended the report, saying, "In response to recent questions about Sam fitting in with the team, multiple Rams brought up the shower topic and we relayed that information as part of our reporting" (NYPOST.com, 8/26). SNY's Sal Licata said of the report, "Do we need to hear what the guy is doing in the shower? Who cares when he's showering?" SNY's Eamon McAnaney: "The whole angle covering his trying to make the Rams has been crazy" ("Loud Mouths," SNY, 8/26). In St. Louis, Lindsay Toler writes as the "preeminent sports-news source, ESPN knows it has a responsibility to uncover unfair treatment aimed at Sam solely based on his sexuality." In fact, ESPN "knows this so well that ESPN the Magazine published an in-depth report on the homosociality of NFL showers nearly two months ago." But a "thoughtful examination into sports showers as an emblem of hegemony is not the same thing as speculation about when Sam strips down to wash off" (RIVERFRONTTIMES.com, 8/27).

HEADING DOWN THE WRONG AVENUE: Radio host Dan Patrick said he understands Sam is a "hot-button issue" and ESPN is covering him "because of his sexuality." However, for the net to "quote somebody anonymously to talk about this, I just thought, ‘Where are we going with this?’" Patrick: "We're getting into dangerous territory here. Salacious, just to be salacious. … There are a lot of things that people have told me over the years, it doesn't mean I can report it or should report it. What if that player is in competition with Michael Sam? What if he doesn't like gays? What if he says, ‘I can say whatever I want here. My name is not attached to it.’ This story could have blown up. It could have been huge" ("The Dan Patrick Show,” 8/27).
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St. Louis Rams, Franchises, ESPN

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