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Oprah Winfrey Network's Michael Sam Documentary Sparks Backlash From NFL Teammate

6/17/2014

By Jason Hughes
TheWrap

Michael Sam becoming the first openly gay player to get drafted into the NFL was a big deal. It became an even bigger one when he signed with Oprah Winfrey's OWN network to film a reality show that follows him through training camp as he tries to get a spot on the St. Louis Rams team. Perhaps too big.

See also: Oprah Winfrey Network Producing Michael Sam Documentary Series

From what I can tell so far, I think it's a little bit of both, honestly," the player said.

New questions were raised in the wake of Sam's reality show announcement. After all, the NFL is very protective of its licenses. HBO has a deal in place for their "Hard Knocks" reality series, which follows a different team each year through its training camp. Meanwhile, Sam's show is chronicling his journey through Rams' training camp. On the surface, the concepts sound very similar.

See video:  Stephen Colbert Penalizes Michael Sam for 'Holding,' 'Unnecessary Tenderness'

HBO has full access to NFL facilities and logos for "Hard Knocks," as it is a co-production with NFL Films. When asked if OWN had any agreements to film NFL grounds or logos, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told TheWrap, "There is no such agreement with our office."

It looks like the difference, as OWN sees it, is Michael Sam, himself. "The intention of this documentary has always been to follow Michael at the center of this historic moment in professional sports, and to shine a light on his courage and determination to make the St. Louis Rams' roster," OWN president Erik Logan told TheWrap. "There are no plans to shoot any practices or on-field activities at the Rams' facility."

See also: Michael Sam's Jersey Is Second-Biggest-Selling of NFL Rookies

at Michael Sam's house when he received the call that he'd been selected in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams. His agent, Cameron Weiss, admitted on "NFL Live" that the Rams didn't know about the planned documentary before they drafted Sam.

"We did our best to communicate to the league," Weiss said on the show. "We did not know what team he was going to and when he was going to that team." Once they found out it was St. Louis, they started communicating directly with that franchise.

See video:  Michael Sam Becomes First Openly Gay NFL Draft Pick: Watch Him and Boyfriend React (Video)

Weiss went on to specify how removed the show would be from the Rams. "We're not going to be interviewing any players. We're not going to have coaches, front office or teammates be a part of this," he said. "We're not going to be at meetings, and we're not going to be at the team facility or hotel."

The post Oprah Winfrey Network's Michael Sam Documentary Sparks Backlash From NFL Teammate appeared first on TheWrap.

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