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Michael Sam story brings ESPN a shower of criticism

Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams reacts after sacking the Cleveland Browns' Johnny Manziel earlier this month. [Getty Images]

Michael Sam of the St. Louis Rams reacts after sacking the Cleveland Browns' Johnny Manziel earlier this month. [Getty Images]

A quick Two Cents tour around some of the more interesting sports topics of the day.

All apologies

When football player Michael Sam announced that he was gay before the NFL draft, knuckleheads immediately and shamelessly wondered what would happen when it came time for Sam to shower after practices and games.

So on a week when Sam recorded two sacks in a preseason game for the Rams, ESPN reporter Josina Anderson talked about … Sam showering after practices and games. Anderson said on air that one player told her, " 'Sam is respecting our space.' From his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is waiting to kind of take a shower, so as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable.''

After much backlash, ESPN put out a statement saying it "regrets the manner in which we presented our report. Clearly on Tuesday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.''

Rams coach Jeff Fisher called the piece unprofessional and unethical. He had angry words for Anderson, telling the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, "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'm disappointed for Mike. I'm disappointed for the players who she put in this position, and mostly I'm disappointed for her because she felt what she was doing was right — and it wasn't right."

What's interesting is it's unlikely players simply volunteered that information. So was Anderson asking players specifically about showers? There seems to be absolutely nothing of news value in Sam's showering habits.

There goes my 'hero'

USC suspended star CB Josh Shaw after Shaw admitted to lying when he said he injured both ankles jumping off a balcony to save his 7-year-old nephew from drowning. We don't know how Shaw was injured — his attorney says he fell off a balcony — but maybe next time he should ease up on the hero angle. He should've gone with rescuing a kitten from a tree. After all, the kitten wouldn't confirm or deny anything. And maybe USC should've vetted the story a little more before proclaiming Shaw a hero. Hopefully Shaw wasn't involved in anything too serious and USC can soon reinstate him. The truth always comes out, doesn't it?

What's in a name?

Know who the Bucs play tonight? Depends on whom you ask. ESPN's Mike Ditka and NBC's Al Michaels would say "Redskins.'' NBC's Tony Dungy and CBS's Phil Simms would say "Washington.'' The NFL's biggest controversy comes to town tonight. The argument that needs to go away is that Washington should keep the nickname because of tradition. Just because we used to do things a certain way — separate water fountains, for example — doesn't mean things should always stay that way. Shouldn't we evolve? Times change. Meanings of words change. The right thing? Getting rid of that derogatory nickname.

Question of the day

Browns WR Josh Gordon gets suspended a year for smoking dope. Ravens RB Ray Rice is suspended two games for punching out his then-fiancee, now-wife. What's wrong with this picture?

Michael Sam story brings ESPN a shower of criticism 08/27/14 [Last modified: Thursday, August 28, 2014 12:10pm]
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