One day after asking the NFL’s first openly-gay draft pick about his showering habits in the locker room, ESPN has issued an apology.
“ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report,” the network said in a statement on Wednesday morning regarding St. Louis Rams player Michael Sam. “Clearly on Tuesday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports.”
During Tuesday’s report on SportsCenter, Josina Anderson was asked how Sam – trying to become the first openly gay player to make an NFL roster – was fitting in with his teammates.
During the report, which immediately drew a torrent of backlash on social media, Anderson focused on Sam’s showering habits after detailing how one Rams player told her that the rookie was “respecting our space.”
“Another Rams 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.”
Defensive tackle Kendall Langford was quoted by Anderson in the report as saying he had not been in the shower at the same time as the high-profile rookie, but he said there could be a “million reasons” why they had not crossed paths in the shower.
Two more players told her that they weren’t actually keeping track of Sam’s post-practice shower regimen.
Rams All-Pro defensive end Chris Long took aim at the network in a tweet he wrote on Tuesday afternoon: “Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it.”