ESPN Apologizes for Michael Sam Shower Report

Network regrets story about openly gay player's locker room habits.

Posted: 08/27/2014 08:00 PM EDT
Michael Sam

ESPN issued an apology after airing a report that delved a little too deep in to the St. Louis Rams locker room. The network drew criticism for the story Tuesday morning, which included how some St. Louis Rams players feel about openly gay rookie teammate Michael Sam's showering habits. 

"ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report," the network said in a statement. "Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports."

ESPN reporter Josina Anderson said one Rams player told her, "'Sam is respecting our space [when it comes to the showers].'"  Anderson said, "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 take a shower, as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable." 

Rams defensive tackle Kendall Langford reportedly told Anderson that there could be a "million reasons" why he and Sam haven't crossed paths in the shower, citing that the rookie could have been doing extra work on the practice field.

Whatever the case, Anderson delving into Sam's showering routine made for cringe-worthy television, which drew the ire of other Rams players and the public as a whole. Rams defensive end Chris Long tweeted Tuesday, "Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it" in reference to Sam being the NFL's first publicly-gay player.

Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of Outsports.com and a gay man, also posted a video on the Internet in which he is seen barechested in the shower before stating:

"It's disgusting to me that ESPN frankly would allow this to happen," Zeigler said, as reported by the New York Daily News. "Reporting whether a gay athlete is showering with his teammates as though it is part of news."

Anderson's report originally started with her discussing the Rams' first round of roster cuts, which Sam survived. That wasn't exactly a surprise either, as the rookie defensive end recorded two sacks against the Cleveland Browns during preseason action Saturday night. The Rams—like every other team in the NFL—must trim their roster to 53 players this Saturday afternoon.

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(Photo: Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

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