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Player: Sam show may be distraction

A player on the St. Louis Rams, speaking on condition of anonymity, says Michael Sam's upcoming reality show on the Oprah Winfrey Network could potentially cause friction within the team.

"It's an interesting case that he gets to work with Oprah and have his own show, but I think it does raise eyebrows and it may be somewhat of a distraction," the player told ESPN's Josina Anderson. "But this is our first time dealing with something like this, so we'll have to wait and see how it plays out and how people react."

The player also isn't certain if teammates are truly embracing Sam's presence or just being politically correct when it comes to accepting the NFL's first openly gay player.

"Clearly I'm not sure how everyone feels, but from what I can tell so far I think it's a little bit of both, honestly," he said.

The reality show on Winfrey's network will document Sam's experience trying to make the Rams. The network said the working title for the series is "The Untitled Michael Sam Project."

"The intention of this documentary has always been to follow Michael at the center of this historic moment in professional sports, and to shine a light on his courage and determination to make the St. Louis Rams' roster," OWN president Erik Logan said in a statement to ESPN's Hannah Storm. "There are no plans to shoot any practices or on-field activities at the Rams' facility."

Sam's agent, Cameron Weiss, said in an interview on "NFL Live" on Thursday that the Rams didn't know about the planned documentary before drafting Sam, but were told before the announcement of the show by OWN.  The Rams have said they will not allow any special access to the TV show beyond what the normal media has.

"We did our best to communicate to the league," Weiss said. "We did not know what team he was going to and when he was going to that team. So, as soon as he was (drafted), that's when the communication started and it is ongoing and continuing. We're very committed to not infringing on the Rams, their autonomy or taking away in any way from their product on the field or their operations. We're not going to be interviewing any players. We're not going to have coaches, front office (members) or teammates be a part of this. We're not going to be at meetings, and we're not going to be at the team facility or hotel."

Weiss also said Sam remains focused on his career on the field.

"Being a football player and documenting history are not mutually exclusive. Just because Mike is the subject of a documentary, not a reality show, does not mean that he can't focus on football," Weiss said. "To think that just because there's some cameras present, when there has been cameras present for the past four-plus years of his life, is silly. I think you just have to look at programming that's going on throughout sports and the NFL -- 'Hard Knocks,' 'A Football Life,' even '30 for 30.' And these are compelling stories that people enjoy watching and don't take away from the product on the field or the performance."

Sources say the plan is for the series to be broken up into six to eight segments. Weiss and Joe Barkett -- another of Sam's agents -- are producers, as is Sam's publicist, Howard Bragman.

Despite being the 249th pick in the draft, Sam's was the second-most popular jersey of draft weekend, selling more at the NFL's official store than that of any other rookie aside from Johnny Manziel.

Information from ESPN.com's Darren Rovell was used in this report.

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