TIME

Oprah’s Michael Sam Documentary Put On Hold

Michael Sam
St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick Michael Sam listens to a question during a news conference at the NFL football team's practice facility, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. Jeff Roberson—AP

The OWN documentary announced earlier this week has been put on hold, allowing the first openly gay player in the NFL "to have total focus on football" as he attempts to get on the roster for the St. Louis Rams, his agent said

A documentary series set to follow Michael Sam’s life as the first openly gay player in the NFL has been postponed, the Oprah Winfrey Network announced Friday evening.

“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 president Erik Logan said in a statement.

Sam came out publicly in February and was drafted to the St. Louis Rams May 10, becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL. The documentary was reportedly set to follow the Rams draftee in his attempt to make the team’s roster, ESPN reports. The show would have been divided into six or eight segments.

The NFL was unaware of the documentary before the OWN network announcement on Wednesday.

An anonymous player on the Rams told ESPN before the show was canceled that it could cause some friction on the team. “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,” the player said.

Sam’s agent, Cameron Weiss, met with the Rams in person on Friday and said after the meeting that it was in the interests of the team to put the documentary on hold. The postponement “will allow for Michael to have total focus on football, and will ensure no distractions to his teammates,” Weiss said. “Everybody involved remains committed to this project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message.”

 

 

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