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Eric Wood blames ESPN for Michael Sam not signing with team after release from Rams

eric-woodFrom the time Michael Sam was released by the St. Louis Rams on Saturday as part of their final cuts, speculation began about what would be next for last year’s SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Sam recorded 11 tackles and three sacks during the preseason, including this memorable one of Johnny Manziel. Despite showing perhaps more than some expected, Sam didn’t make the Rams’ 53-man roster.

After clearing waivers, Sam is now a free agent. However, the seventh round has yet to receive any offers. Why is up for debate. Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Eric Wood has a theory and it involves the network that reported on Sam’s showering habits.

Certainly ESPN isn’t the only culprit of the massive amount of coverage Michael Sam has received since being drafted, but the point made by Wood is a valid one. Any team that signs Sam will obviously not only be signing a defensive player, but the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL.

It would be premature to say Michael Sam’s professional football career is over after just beginning. The Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League have reached out to him, although they have yet to hear back. Whether it’s the Alouettes or someone else, the next team Michael Sam suits up for should be prepared to deal with the media attention that comes with it, fair or not.

Michael Sam released by Rams

Michael Sam money gesture

The St. Louis Rams released Michael Sam as part of their final roster cuts on Saturday afternoon, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

While it had long been reported that Sam was on the roster bubble, his fate with the Rams will come as a surprise to people who watched the former Missouri star throughout the preseason. There were times when Sam did a great job of pressuring the quarterback, registering two sacks, two QB hits and four QB hurries on 133 preseason snaps.

Sam is slightly undersized for a defensive end and it not exactly a freak athlete, but many felt he had showed enough to earn a spot on the Rams roster. The fact that he does not play on special teams made it a tougher decision for the Rams. St. Louis will likely try to keep him on board as a practice player, but don’t be surprised if Sam finds a home elsewhere.

More Michael Sam coverage:
Video: ESPN reports on Michael Sam’s showering habits
Chris Long: Everyone but ESPN is over Michael Sam being gay
Video: Michael Sam sacks Johnny Manziel, flashes money sign

Jeff Fisher rips Josina Anderson for Michael Sam shower report

Jeff Fisher Rams

Jeff Fisher is the latest person to criticize Josina Anderson for her report Tuesday that included information on Michael Sam’s showering habits with the St. Louis Rams.

Though ESPN apologized for the “manner in which” they presented the report, Fisher still had harsh words for Anderson.

“I’m extremely disappointed in her piece,” Fisher told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday. “I think it’s unethical. I think it’s very, very unprofessional. Not only the piece itself, the content. The manner in which she did it.”

Fisher went on to say that Anderson was “out of line” for contacting Rams players outside the facility to put together her report.

“She was out of line because she went and contacted several players on their personal time. Misled them with questions and then put this piece together.”

I won’t get on Anderson for doing that. Part of being a good reporter is developing relationships with players so they feel comfortable giving you information. She obviously was successful at accomplishing that. Her report provided some information many felt was pertinent to the situation, but the manner in which it was reported was terrible.

ESPN (sort of) apologizes for Michael Sam shower report

Michael Sam RamsAfter initially defending its report about Michael Sam’s shower habits in the St. Louis Rams locker room, ESPN finally received enough pressure from the masses to issue a half-hearted apology on Wednesday.

“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.”

For those who missed it, Josina Anderson discussed how Sam is fitting in with his teammates by passing along information she got from players about when and with whom Sam has been taking his showers. One Rams defender supposedly said Sam is “respecting our space” while two others said they weren’t keeping track of when the former Missouri star cleans himself. Shocking, I know.

[WATCH: ESPN shares report about Michael Sam's showering habits]

Rams defensive end Chris Long later sent a tweet directed toward ESPN, basically saying Sam’s sexual preference is no longer a topic of interest for anyone but the World Wide Leader. ESPN initially defended Anderson’s reporting on Tuesday.

“In response to recent questions about Sam fitting in with the team, multiple Rams brought up the shower topic and we relayed that information as part of our reporting,” the network said, via Shutdown Corner.

We get that Anderson was just passing along information, but it didn’t seem like there was enough there to constitute a news story. To me, the report represented an uncomfortable invasion of privacy.

Chris Long: Everyone but ESPN is over Michael Sam being gay

Michael-Sam-boyfriendESPN featured some phenomenal investigative reporting on Tuesday when the network passed along some of the details of Michael Sam’s showering routine. For those of you who are a little slow, I’m being sarcastic. We have no idea why the World Wide Leader told us that Sam has not yet showered with certain teammates, and neither does Rams defensive end Chris Long.

A few hours after Josina Anderson went on the air and spoke about Sam’s showering habits, Long tweeted the following.

That’s how a lot of people feel. The first ever openly gay player in the NFL fighting for a roster spot is a huge story — we get that. It took guts for Sam to come out before the NFL Draft. But don’t we have enough headlines about him — such as Sam sacking Johnny Manziel and flashing the money symbol — that we don’t need to get into when and with whom he supposedly takes a shower?

Again, this seems like the type of stuff ESPN does that inspired their own Neil Everett to take a shot at the network last week.

H/T Jimmy Traina

Michael Sam is not showering with teammates, according to ESPN

Michael Sam RamsMichael Sam seems to be adjusting to life in the NFL quite well, at least on the field. Sam, who made headlines on Saturday when he sacked Johnny Manziel and flashed the money sign, appears likely to make the St. Louis Rams 53-man roster. But what about his showering habits? It’s important that we hear all about that, right?

Don’t worry, ESPN has you covered. During Tuesday’s edition of SportsCenter, Josina Anderson updated viewers on how Sam is fitting in with his teammates. Things started out pretty normal.

“Defensive tackle Kendall Langford said that Michael Sam is just one of the guys,” Anderson began. “He seems to be taking a rookie approach in terms of just listening and learning at his own pace. He’s just trying to feel his way through and, perhaps, see what guys he can relate to.”

Anderson then brought up showering, and things got a little too personal.

“Another Rams defensive player told me that Sam is respecting our space,” she said. “From his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is kind of waiting to take a shower as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable. Langford and linebacker Alec Ogletree didn’t know that specifically and also weren’t tracking that.

“Langford told me, ‘I have not been in the shower at the same time as Michael Sam,’ but said there could be a million reasons as to why that is. He said (Sam) could be doing extra work on the practice field, riding his bike or doing extra cardio. But overall Langford said he seems to be adjusting to life in the NFL and the speed of the game.”

[Also see: Chris Long rips ESPN for shower report]

If you ask me, that’s too much information. We know having an openly gay player in the NFL is going to create some unprecedented situations in the locker room, but Sam’s shower schedule isn’t something ESPN needs to be passing along to their viewers. This is the exact type of stuff Neil Everett was angry about when he took a shot at the World Wide Leader.

Video via The Big Lead

Michael Sam sack on Johnny Manziel, celebration causes Twitter user to lose bet

Michael Sam money gesture

Michael Sam’s sack on Johnny Manziel and subsequent “Money” celebration caused one Twitter user to lose a bet he made that was impossible to enforce anyway.

A guy on Twitter who goes by “Fisher King” sent the following tweet before Saturday’s preseason game between the Rams and Browns:

Fisher King wasn’t the only one who was saying stuff about Sam sacking Manziel that night; many other pundits were begging for it to happen so there would be an “internet meltdown” which never actually happened.

So how did the Fisher King guy react after the sack?

Fisher King wanted to make good on his promise but knew the drinks proposition was unrealistic. Instead he turned to a more reasonable payoff — donating to a charity of Sam’s choice.

Head to Page 2 to read what happened next.

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