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 â€œjust one of the guys and taking a rookie approach.â€ She then went into further details, including Samâ€™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, arenâ€™t celebrities granted at least a little bit of privacy? Not to mention the uncomfortable situation that fellow Ramsâ€™ 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, â€œESPN 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.â€ 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 isnâ€™t the first time sports shower stories have made the news. Iâ€™d say letâ€™s talk about Jackie Robinson, but Iâ€™ll save that for another blog post.