Michael Sam's historic entry into the NFL will be getting the documentary treatment courtesy of the Oprah Winfrey Network. Cameras will follow the rookie defensive end off the field as he tries to make the St. Louis Rams' final roster throughout offseason workouts and training camp. The one place cameras won't be following Sam is within the Rams' facility, according to NFL.com's Mike Huguenin.
The documentary will reportedly air in six to eight parts, and cover Sam's personal reactions to experiences on and off the field. What the series apparently won't do is film Sam taking part in practice, or talking to coaches inside 1 Rams Way. A lack of Hard Knocks-level depth may come as a disappointment to some. Sam's agent, Cameron Weiss, who is also a producer for the documentary, said that Sam and his representation had no intention of fighting the Rams for access, however. Via NFL.com:
"OWN's cameras would never be able to go to the Rams' facility to be inside the locker room, to get on the field, because nobody has those rights besides the NFL." Weiss was asked if the filmmakers had even asked to shoot at the Rams' facility and said, "It wasn't asked at all. We wouldn't put the Rams in that position."
It would have been understandable if the Rams refused to relent. Media coverage is expected to be heavy in St. Louis to cover the first openly gay player in the NFL, even without the attention of Oprah's cameras. Seventh-round draft picks are common training camp casualties, so it would seem to be in Sam's best interests to focus as much of his energy as possible on making the Rams' 53-man roster.
Then again, his is a rare circumstance, and with that comes the rare opportunity to look into the mind of a gay man trying to make a career in an immensely popular sports league with an occasional machismo problem.
The Rams have yet to make a public statement about the series, though they have been made aware of it (albeit after Sam was drafted) and are actively working with producers. Whether it's good for the team or Sam, the documentary could be fascinating for fans.