US: ESPN apologises for questioning whether Michael Sam should shower with teammates

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Sports broadcaster ESPN has apologised for a report questioning whether out St Louis Rams player Michael Sam should shower with his teammates.

Sam made history as the first out NFL player when he was drafted by the St Louis Rams earlier this year, and is currently embarking on the beginning of his playing career with the team.

ESPN reporter Josina Anderson attracted criticism yesterday for questioning the player’s showering habits, claiming: “[A] defensive player told me that ‘Sam is respecting our space’ and that, from his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is waiting to take a shower, as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable.”

They were rebuked by St Louis Rams defensive end Chris Long, who took to Twitter to defend his team’s reputation.

He wrote: “Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it.”

The broadcaster has today issued an apology, writing: “ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report.

“Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.”

Sam made his debut for the team this month, in a pre-season match against the New Orleans Saints.

Last month, former Colts coach Tony Dungy said he wouldn’t have signed Sam, because he “wouldn’t want to deal with all of it”.

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon later leapt to Dungy’s defence, claiming he is worried Sam will be able to see “all that beefcake” in the shower.

Watch the report below: