Everyone who thought that Tony Dungy's statements about Michael Sam would be the last we'd have to hear about the NFL linebacker's private life can thank ESPN for reopening that door. Josina Anderson reported yesterday on how the NFL's first openly gay player was getting along with his new teammates on the St. Louis Rams, which is a reasonable angle to take as the 2014 season for the rookie gets underway. What wasn't viewed as quite so reasonable, however, was Anderson quoting an anonymous Rams player about Sam's showering routine in the locker room.
While Anderson started off with an innocuous quote from teammate Kendall Langford—who said Sam is "simply just one of the guys," according to the New York Post—the words she spoke next are what sparked a social media hubbub, reports Mashable: "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." Her report incited a rapid response on Twitter, including from Rams defensive end Chris Long. "Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it," he tweeted. An ESPN spokesman tweeted today, "ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report. Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports." (Read more Michael Sam stories.)