Among the storylines in this year’s NFL preseason is whether openly gay rookie defensive lineman Michael Sam will make the roster of the St. Louis Rams. There’s all kinds of analysis out there on this topic, much of it focused on the depth of talent along the Rams’s defensive front.
As roster cut-down deadlines loom, ESPN has broadened the scope of preseason Sam-oriented analysis. On today’s “SportsCenter,” reporter Josina Anderson was asked how Sam was “fitting in” with his teammates. She responded with perhaps the most detailed analysis of professional-sports-team showering logistics in the history of the NFL:
Well…defensive tackle Kendall Langford said that Michael Sam is simply just one of the guys and he seems to be taking a rookie approach in terms of just listening and learning at his own pace. He said that you can tell he’s just trying to feel his way through and perhaps see what guys he can relate to. But another Rams defensive player told me that quote Sam is respecting our space and that from his perspective, he seems to think that Michael Sam is waiting to kind of take a shower as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable while Langford and linebacker Alec Ogletree told me that they didn’t know that specifically and also weren’t tracking that. Now while Langford told me ‘Listen, I haven’t been in the shower at the same time as Michael Sam,’ he said that there definitely could be a million reasons as to why that is. He said he could be doing extra work on the practice field, he could be riding his bike, he could be doing extra cardio, but overall Langford said he seems to be adjusting to the life in the NFL and to the speed of the game.
ESPN the Magazine in July did a big piece on sports showering, including a passage on Sam and the Rams: “His teammates’ reaction to showering with the first openly gay man in NFL history can best be summed up as one collective yawn. ‘Look, guys shower together,’ says Rams linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar. ‘And Sam’s been showering with guys forever.’ ”