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Scott D. Pierce
Scott D. Pierce writes about television for the Salt Lake Tribune. Vice president of the Television Critics Associationn, he's covered TV in Utah since 1990.

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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 Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Michael Sam should forego reality TV show and concentrate on football

OWN - aka the Oprah Winfrey Network - has announced its doing a reality series about football player Michael Sam. Which is a terrible idea.

Not necessarily for OWN, which could do just fine with show.

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But Sam, the first openly gay player selected in the NFL draft, is making a horrible mistake. He needs to worry about football first. 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.

Being gay has absolutely nothing to do with this. It would be a bad idea for any player trying to make an NFL team.

Here's OWN's release about "The Untitled Michael Sam Project":

Los Angeles - OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network announced today a new multi-part documentary series following the life of Michael Sam, who made history when he became the first openly gay football player drafted into the NFL by the St. Louis Rams. OWN partners with Emmy-winning producer Craig Piligian's Pilgrim Studios and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Amy Rice ("Lindsay," "By The People: The Election of Barack Obama") to produce "The Untitled Michael Sam Project" (working title) which spotlights the former University of Missouri football player and his historic journey as he prepares to enter the biggest professional sports league in America.

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, as the All-American defensive end and SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year enters the competitive world of professional football. 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.

"We are honored that Michael is trusting us with his private journey in this moment that has not only made history but will shape it forever," said Oprah Winfrey. "I am proud of the focus on authentic storytelling in our new documentary series format. The next real-life story we follow in 'The Untitled Michael Sam Project' promises to spark valuable, important discussion on life in America today. Acceptance and illumination start here."

"Like every player out there working to make a team right now, my focus is on playing football to the very best of my ability," said Sam. "I am determined. And if seeing my story helps somebody else accept who they are and to go for their dreams too, that's great. I am thankful to Oprah for her support and excited to work together."

"The Untitled Michael Sam Project" is produced with OWN by Pilgrim Studios and is executive produced by Craig Piligian, Nicholas Caprio and Johnny Gould. Amy Rice, Ralph Wikke and Mitch Rosa are co-executive producers. Cameron Weiss, Joe Barkett and Howard Bragman are producers.



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