ESPN analyst Jason Whitlock joined Booger and Rich to discuss Michael Sam’s docuseries about coming out and being drafted in the NFL.
Whitlock said that he feels like Michael Sam is contradicting himself. Sam said that he wants to be viewed as a football player, but now he’s doing a docuseries that’s going to take away from football. He also said he’s a staunch supporter of Sam coming out but right now he feels duped.
“I think it’s very contradictory, and I’m someone who supported Michael Sam and understood the importance of his involvement in professional football; but he has certainly called into question to me everything about him, including what we saw on draft day,” he said. “Everything seems orchestrated now. We didn’t know that there was a documentary TV show already in the process of being filmed and now we do. Now we judge everything in that light and we have to wonder, was it genuine emotion? Or is this a part of a reality TV show?”
Whitlock pointed out that it seems like Sam is taking advantage of his position and it’s evident by him selling his own merchandise online:
“I feel duped. Again, he’s got a website up selling t-shirts – it’s a merchandise store. This all looks like a cash grab more than a guy that wants to be a great football player as he has said. I don’t wanna come down too hard on Michael Sam, he comes from a very difficult background with his family and as we saw on draft day he was not surrounded by family as most people are on draft day, he was surrounded by two of his handlers and his boyfriend. You have to wonder if he’s not being manipulated and influenced because everyone that I know that knows him as a football player says he’s very passionate about football, but here he is now as a 7th-round pick, a guy who is a longshot to make the roster, he’s now involving himself with a reality TV show, he’s got a website up hawking t-shirts, his agents cut a deal to be producers on this show, his publicist cut a deal to be a producer on this show, again it just doesn’t pass the smell test in terms of authenticity. It’s disappointing because I think whoever is maneuvering him needs to understand, the most important thing he has to do is make the football team. If he doesn’t make the football team all their causes, concerns about the LGBT community, the selling of merchandise, it all goes away.”
Whitlock also admitted that if he was a Rams decision-maker, he’d consider cutting Sam immediately.
“I do think there’s extra pressure in terms of there’s potential risk of a fallout if they let Michael Sam go, and I’m gonna be honest, I would consider letting him go today. He’s a marginal player who has a questionable focus on football. I would consider letting him go,” he said. “When you come into a team environment, it has to be about the team and so I’m wondering, there are guys in the Rams locker room that to me probably said, ‘You know what I’m going to do my best to embrace this guy and embrace the situation,’ but I can’t imagine they wanna spend their entire training camp and entire season reacting to Michael Sam’s personal life and that’s what’s gonna be showcased on this reality show. I don’t think that’s gonna play well in the locker room.
“I’m a Michael Sam supporter, I’m a supporter of the gay and lesbian community I think that their freedom and equality is important to the freedom of African americans, I get all that, but I’m telling you, I’d be very tempted to cut the guy today.”
Whitlock said he’s sure he’ll receive some criticism after his latest column on ESPN.com that disagrees with certain comparisons of Sam to Jackie Robinson, but he’s not worried about it. He supports Sam as a gay athlete, but not his decision to do the documentary.
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