SportsCenter’s big scoop yesterday was about the bathing schedule of the only out gay man in the National Football League. As relayed by reporter Josina Anderson, 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.” Because that’s the part of football most likely to be mistaken as homoerotic.
The network initially defended its journalism: “In response to recent questions about Sam fitting in with the team, multiple Rams brought up the shower topic and we relayed that information as part of our reporting,” ESPN said in a statement yesterday. Nope, wrong. Try again.
Today’s is marginally better. “ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report” — the “manner in which” they “presented” the report, not the report. “Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.” Journalism’s fail-safe “not that there’s anything wrong with that” clause was sorely lacking.
Sam’s St. Louis Rams teammate provided the last word on the matter, at least until SportsCenter attempts to present its homophobic reporting in a less offensive manner:
Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it.— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 26, 2014