Just days after introducing a planned documentary series centered on openly gay NFL hopeful and Rams seventh-round draftee Michael Sam, Oprah’s OWN network has pulled the plug on the docuseries — at least for now.
OWN confirmed the sudden hiatus of the project on Friday.
"After careful consideration and discussion with the St. Louis Rams, ‘The Untitled Michael Sam Project’ has been postponed, allowing Michael the best opportunity to achieve his dream of making the team," OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network president Erik Logan said in a statement. "OWN is about elevating and empowering people to achieve their best. It’s clear that we, along with the world, recognize the important opportunity that Michael now has in this moment. We will continue to support him in his journey to earn a spot playing for the Rams."
Michael Sam’s agent, Cameron Weiss, also chimed in with a statement:
"After today’s meeting with the Rams, we collectively feel it is best to postpone the project," Weiss said. "This will allow for Michael to have a total focus on football, and will ensure no distractions to his teammates. Everybody involved remains committed to this project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message."
The documentary project, which promised to follow the former Mizzou defensive end during his "historic journey as he prepares to enter the biggest professional sports league in America," had been widely criticized as many wondered whether Sam was truly going to "focus on football," as he said in his first press conference after being drafted, or was instead looking to cash in on a television project.
For now, controversy avoided … or delayed, anyway.