Was Michael Sam's Draft-Day Smooch Aimed at Reality TV Fireworks?

Much has been made in the liberal media about Michael Sam's NFL Draft party smooch with his boyfriend Vito Cammisano. And while there's little doubt about the emotion of the moment, it would be fair to say it was choreographed in no small part for the cameras, and not just those for news outlets. 

Apparently well before the draft, Sam was working with Oprah Winfrey's producers on the filming of a reality TV program, and Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) cameras were present, naturally, for the phone call. Jessica Chasmar of the Washington Times has more:

 


Michael Sam made history over the weekend as being the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft, and now the Oprah Winfrey Network is officially announcing a new reality series with the Rams player.

"This special documentary series will feature a deeply personal, up-close look at the remarkable man at the center of this groundbreaking moment in professional sports," OWN said in a press release.

"Cameras will follow Sam as he works to earn his spot on the St. Louis Rams all while under the intense scrutiny of being the first openly gay player in the NFL," the release states.

According to TMZ, Sam has already been taping the show for weeks, before he was even drafted.

"In fact, we’re told Oprah’s crew was in the room when Sam learned he had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams … and clearly knew his big celebratory kiss with his BF would make for great reality television," the website reported.

Chasmar went on to cite critics who say Sam is making a huge mistake by agreeing to a reality TV show when every ounce of his waking life should be dedicated to football and to securing his slot on the 53-man roster for the regular season:

Critics say Sam should be focusing more on football and less on making himself a celebrity.

The Salt Lake Tribune’s Scott D. Pierce called the move a “horrible mistake” for Sam.

"It won’t be easy for him to make the Rams roster, and he would be better off worrying about that than about what looks like a stab at fame that goes beyond football," he writes.

And Mediaite’s Joe Concha said Sam has two choices: Cut ties with Oprah, or risk making the team.

"Rookies — particularly 7th round draft picks that routinely get cut before the season — don’t get their own reality show," he writes. "Life is tough enough being a fresh new face on the team, and players and coaches alike will not take kindly to any rookie — gay or not — putting himself over the team. Making himself the focus."

These are fair points, and certainly there would be near-universal agreement among pundits in the media on this were Sam not the first openly-gay NFL draftee.

The political correctness minefield is far too risky for all too many in the media to navigate, perhaps, but the fact of the matter is that if Sam wants to be seen as a solid football player with a promising pro career in the NFL who happens to be openly gay -- rather than as an openly gay cultural icon who happens to be a football player -- than the reality show gambit is a foolish move.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is the Managing Editor for NewsBusters