Michael Sam's every action in the NFL was bound to be analyzed, broken down and turned into a talking point because he's the first openly gay player to be drafted into the league.
It's also now going to be videotaped, edited and distilled down into a documentary miniseries broadcast on a TV near you.
Oprah Winfrey’s television network OWN announced in a release Wednesday that Sam will be the focus of a documentary series following the former Missouri Tigers defensive end as he tries to earn a spot on the St. Louis Rams' roster after the team selected him with a seventh-round pick in last week’s draft.
"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," Sam said in the release. "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."
But making the Rams' roster won’t be easy, Coach Jeff Fisher acknowledged after drafting Sam.
"On paper, we don't really need him,” Fisher said, according to NFL.com.
It's true. The Rams are stacked at Sam's position, with Pro Bowler Robert Quinn and veteran Chris Long as well as William Hayes and Eugene Sims.
"When you see me, I'm determined to be great," Sam said at his introductory news conference with the Rams on Tuesday. "I'm determined to make this team and I have every confidence in myself that I will make this team.”
Sam was the Southeastern Conference's co-defensive player of the year after collecting 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for a loss as a senior at Mizzou, but he won’t be facing the offensive lines of Arkansas State, Vanderbilt or Florida -- against whom he had some of his best games last year -- in the NFL.
Confident or not, Sam will have to overcome long odds to break new ground in the NFL all while a television audience watches.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times