The Shower Heard Around the World

Michael Sam entered headlines this past May for being the first openly gay NFL draft pick. Naturally, inquiring minds wanted to know how a gay male would fit into a culture stigmatized by straight men.

Luckily for us, ESPN reporter Josina Anderson ran a hard-hitting story last week that filled us on how his team was getting used to Sam. In her story, she talked about how Sam was “just one of the guys and taking a rookie approach.” She then went into further details, including Sam’s personal shower habits. She reported on statements fellow teammates say “Sam is respecting our space.”

When it comes to reporting, where is the ethical line in determining if a subject is considered taboo or not? In a world where there seems to be a constant debate on the rights and protection of celebrities, aren’t celebrities granted at least a little bit of privacy? Not to mention the uncomfortable situation that fellow Rams’ players may have been subdued too because Andersen asked them to talk about their teammate.

According to a statement from the Rams head coach Jeff Fisher to St. Louis Today, he deems the piece to be unethical and unprofessional. ESPN has since sent out a statement, “ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report. Clearly on Tuesday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.” Josina Anderson even took the time to make a statement.

Sports Illustrated however brings up an excellent point on the subject, how do the showering habits of Sam affect the teams atmosphere? Was the essence of the story lost because it overshadowed by the lewd subject matter of the report?

In a society where we are constantly striving for equality, we seem to be falling back into old ways. This isn’t the first time sports shower stories have made the news. I’d say let’s talk about Jackie Robinson, but I’ll save that for another blog post.

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2 Responses to The Shower Heard Around the World

  1. Christina Scheblein says:

    It is clear that the reporter was digging for something “juicy” to add to the story to make it more interesting. In her statement, she apologizes that the story came off in the manor that it did. However, it just blows my mind that it wouldn’t occur to her or any member of the production crew that it could possibly come off as the least bit offensive, or more importantly embarrassing, during the production process.

  2. Melissa Tantillo says:

    This story is absolutely astonishing. I can completely understand wanting to report on something “juicy” and information-filled, but this is taking it completely too far. Reporting on someone’s shower habits is unacceptable! Especially someone who is standing up for what he believes in and taking a stand against those who don’t support his decision to be interested in men. It is completely beyond me how someone could have the audacity to twist and pull someone’s real life and turn it into gossip. Don’t we watch ESPN to learn about sports? Since when are players’ shower habits sports? It takes a lot of courage for someone to stand up for something they believe in when much of the world is still against it. He should be awarded and applauded, not humiliated and ridiculed. This story is unacceptable and completely and utterly unethical!

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