ESPN has changed course and is no longer defending its coverage of Michael Sam’s showering habits, tweeting that the sports behemoth “regrets” the discussion that took place during a “SportsCenter” segment on Tuesday.
Josh Krulewitz, vice president of communications at ESPN, tweeted on Wednesday: “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, a rookie with the St. Louis Rams, is the first openly gay football player to be drafted to the NFL and ESPN’s segment touched on how Sam is getting along with his teammates, at least one of whom is tired of the continual Michael-Sam-Is-Gay coverage. Veteran Rams defensive end Chris Long tweeted:
Everyone but you is over it.
— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) August 26, 2014
The original segment that generated criticism involved a report by Josina Anderson who relayed comments made by an anonymous teammate of Sam’s who said that Sam has been “respecting our space” by waiting to shower. Two other teammates, Kendall Langford and Alec Ogletree, said they hadn’t been keeping track of Sam’s shower patterns.
ESPN initially defended Anderson’s reporting, releasing this statement to TPM: “In response to recent questions about Michael Sam fitting in with the team, multiple Rams brought up the shower topic and we relayed that information as part of our reporting.”
Ahiza Garcia is a newswriter based in New York City. Before joining TPM, Ahiza interned and freelanced for Nightline, Fox Sports, and ESPN the Magazine. She holds a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University and an M.S. in digital journalism from Syracuse University. She can be reached at email@example.com.