bad sports, good sports

Bad sports, good sports: Michael Sam reality show won’t happen

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Major news was made recently when Michael Sam, an openly gay man, was selected in the NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. I did not write a lot about that event because I had discussed this subject in this space several times in the past, and I didn’t want to keep treading the same ground. It really is a pretty big deal, as far as equality in sports goes, though, and I was thrilled that it happened. Still, as a late pick, Sam has an uphill climb to actually make the team and play in the league. He almost shot himself in the foot this week before ever suiting up for his new team, though, when it was announced that the Oprah Winfrey Network was about to film a documentary show about him and his quest to be a professional football player, following him throughout the camps and team activities. Ugh.

I am not a reality show guy. There is little that I like less than watching people live their lives in public, as I find there to be little about it that is authentic. I even dislike the reality shows that are games. I love competition, but I like that competition to be genuine and for the winners to be determined by objective means, not subjective ones. I can watch the Amazing Race (or I used to be able to, before it got really bad), but I can’t watch Survivor. The idea of watching Michael Sam go through OTAs is simply of no interest to me. I’ll enjoy watching his games, and if I could watch the practices, I would like that as well. The rest of it, though, is just crap that I don’t need to watch. Aside from my own dislike of this genre of television, this was a really awful idea, as far as its possible effect on Sam’s budding career. The Rams organization was quite aware that it was in for some major distractions in the upcoming months when it selected the Missouri linebacker with just a handful of picks left in the draft. They did not bargain for the additional circus that was sure to come from this television show.

On Friday, OWN announced that the show had been postponed. It seems that the Rams met with Sam’s agents and with representative networks and convinced them that it was in the player’s best interests to set this project aside for the moment. This decision is why this story ended up in my Good Sports column rather than the other side. As much as I want Sam to be successful, I was immediately taken aback when I heard about the planned show, and it made me lose a little bit of respect for Sam, as it smacked of opportunism. It would have immediately undermined the credibility that he is already going to have to fight to get and keep. Making the whole thing a sideshow would have made him seem like a joke rather than legitimate prospect.

Michael Sam may never play a real game in the NFL or he may have a great career. Something in between is probably most likely. I am glad he has decided to go about this the right way and let his play on the field speak for itself. He is certain to be the center of media attention anyway, although I guess the hordes won’t be paying him the way OWN would have. If he is serious about playing football, then this was the right decision.

Good sports, continued:

2) Anyone who says that NASCAR drivers are not athletes should check out Jimmie Johnson. The five-time Sprint Cup champion competed in a triathlon on Saturday in North Carolina, coming in first for the 35-39 age group and 11th overall. Not bad.

3) Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome ran away with the Preakness on Saturday, setting up a possible Triple Crown win at the Belmont Stakes. The last twelve horses to win the first two legs have failed to win at Belmont.

4) The Penn State baseball team turned two triple-plays in the same game on Friday, becoming the first college team to do that since 2006 and only the second ever.

5) Dylan Fosnacht, a high school pitcher from Washington, pitched into the 15th inning of a game last week, throwing 194 pitches in the process. Some pro pitchers on Twitter were impressed but thought the coaches should not have allowed it. In the majors, it never would have happened, but come on, folks. This is high school. Millions of dollars aren’t on the line.

Bad sports:

1) Greg Hardy, a defensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers, was arrested for domestic violence against his girlfriend on Tuesday. He apparently had a whole bunch of guns in his possession as well.

2) This was a weird one. Tyler Sash, who used to play for the New York Giants (he was cut last year), was arrested last weekend after fleeing from police on a scooter when they tried to stop him from driving on the wrong side of the street with no lights on at night. He was drunk, as you might have surmised.

3) Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker won so much money on the Kentucky Derby two weeks ago that he was handing out $100 bills after the race. Churchill Downs said this week that he was actually overpaid when he collected his winnings, taking in over $57,000 rather than the $42,000 he was due. It appears that he will get to keep the extra money, though.

4) Pro Bowl linebacker Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts has been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming NFL season for violating the rules against performance-enhancing drugs.

5) The manager of the Philaelphia Phillies and a player on the New York Mets both got sick during a game at Citi Field last weekend. Ryne Sandberg and Lucas Duda both believe they got food poisoning from the Shake Shack restaurant at the ballpark.

6) Enthusiasm for a possible Triple Crown in horse racing has been tempered by the possibility that California Chrome, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, may not be able to wear the nasal strips that he is accustomed to wearing when the Belmont Stakes is run in three weeks.

Bad sports, good sports appears early each week

Alan Spoll is a software quality assurance director from the suburbs of Philadelphia where he lives with his wonderful wife and children. He has spent his entire life as a passionate fan of the Eagles, Phillies, Sixers, Flyers, and Penn State. Recent Phillies success aside, you will understand his natural negativity. Follow me on Twitter - @DocAlan02
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One Response to “Bad sports, good sports: Michael Sam reality show won’t happen”

  1. Sports is sports, and it involves playing games. It is as simple as that, and yet more complex when you consider how sports weaves through so many facets of our lives. History is replete with sports figures who became heroes in other aspects of historical record, and famous figures have referenced their pursuits in the sports world as lessons learned that enriched their lives and contributed to their successes.

    But when I watch a sports show, I want scores, highlights, commentary on the game and the players. I don’t want social issues, political commentary, and current world events shoved down my throat. Sports is an escape for me, a place where we all know the rules and can appreciate the stats. If I want to watch the news or political commentary, I’ll watch it. When I watch a sports show, I don’t want the news nor do I want to be told how I should think about something.

    When you put on the uniform and the hat or helmet, and if you’re on my team then I root for you. And if you are hard-working and respectful of the sport you play and your are a gamer, I’ll root for you no matter what team you’re on.

    Play the game, give 110%, show respect and sportsmanship, be humble in success and gracious in adversity. Those are values that transcend the other elements of our lives.

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