ESPN is doing some damage control after a report about how openly gay NFL player Michael Sam is doing with his prospective team.
A fly young lady doing sports reporting? Awesome! Progressive behavior in relation to how the NFL is integrating its first out-and-proud player? Even better!
This segment had so much potential to be a great field report. Unfortunately, things just went all the way left when reporter Josina Anderson started talking about Michael’s hygiene habits!
Josina started talking about how Michael’s fitting in with the St. Louis Rams. She noted that the team thinks he’s got good hustle, and he’s really become “one of the guys.” Apparently Sam has been pretty careful while learning the ropes with the Rams.
Of course, that only covers chemistry on the field. Josina talked to someone who spilled some tea about how things are going in the locker room. “Another Rams defensive player told me that, ‘Sam is respecting our space’ and that, from his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is waiting to kind of take a shower as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable,” Josina reported Tuesday afternoon
That’s all she needed to say to incite backlash online, but it didn’t end there! She went on to report that other players, including the Linebacker, aren’t really clocking Sam’s shower time.
After getting dragged on social media, ESPN released a statement to apologize for how poorly the coverage was handled. “ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report,” the network said. “Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.”
The blame for this probably can’t even really be placed on Josina. She’s not the person the originally made the comment. She was simply relaying the information. It’s a little unfair that she’s been getting so much flack about the remarks, but it’s not she’s the one who made it.
It’s a big thing for the NFL to welcome its first openly gay player, but was it really necessary for the defensive player to make a comment about Michael’s shower habits? Of course not! It’s a good thing that the other players weren’t making a big deal of it.