NEW YORK, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- ESPN is facing criticism after reporting on Michael Sam's showering habits instead of focusing on how he is adapting to joining the St. Louis Rams.
Sam made history when he became the first openly gay football player to be drafted into the NFL when he was picked up by the St. Louis Rams. Since then, he has been working to maintain his spot on the roster through the draft rounds before the season begins. Rather than reporting his athletic merit, ESPN decided to center its report on his post-practice hygiene procedure.
"Another Rams defensive player told me that, 'Sam is respecting our space' and that from his perspective, he seems to think Michael Sam is waiting to kind of take a shower as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable," reported Josina Anderson in a segment called "How Michael Sam is fitting in with Rams teammates."
Critics slammed the segment for "inappropriately" focusing on Sam's LGBT identity.
Michael Sam shower reports on ESPN? Close it down. We're done http://t.co/04fhT3ayb7— The Packer Ranter (@PackerRanter) August 26, 2014
Which Players Have Showered With Michael Sam? An Important Investigation From ESPN. http://t.co/ESFL46wHEt— UPROXX (@UPROXX) August 26, 2014
Fellow Rams draft pick Chris Long defended his teammate.
Everyone but you is over it.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 26, 2014
ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz posted a statement apologizing for the report.
"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," he tweeted Wednesday.