ESPN apologized Wednesday for a SportsCenterreport by Josina Anderson that detailed the showering habits of defensive end Michael Sam.
"ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report," the statement said. "Clearly yesterday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports."
On Tuesday, Anderson appeared live on SportsCenter from Earth City, Mo. to report on various Rams topics. At the end of the segment, she was asked how Sam, the first openly gay player in NFL history, was fitting in with teammates. Anderson first quoted Sam's fellow defensive lineman Kendall Langford, who called the rookie "just one of the guys."
Next, she quoted an unnamed Rams player discussing the same topic.
"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 kind of waiting to take a shower, as not to make his teammates feel uncomfortable."
Anderson continued, saying that other players, including Langford, hadn't been tracking Sam's showering habits.
The report quickly went viral, which led to defensive end Chris Long tweeting out a brief retort: "Dear ESPN, Everyone but you is over it."
St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher spoke with the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Wednesday about a report by ESPN's Josina Anderson that discussed rookie Michael Sam's showering habits.
From the Post-Dispatch:
"I'm extremely disappointed in her piece," Fisher told the Post-Dispatch on Wednesday, not long before the team boarded buses for Lambert Airport and the trip to Miami for Thursday's preseason finale.
"I think it's unethical," Fisher continued. "I think it's very, very unprofessional. Not only the piece itself, the content. The manner in which she did it."
Fisher said he had seen ESPN's apology and was appreciative of it.
Fisher said he was also upset because he believes Anderson reached out to players away from the team and not during designated times for players to speak with media.
"We have a media policy, and we're very flexible," Fisher said. "We have open practices. Players are available. We have open locker rooms.
"Obviously she came in, in all likelihood to see if there was gonna be a roster move at the 75 cutdown as it relates to Mike Sam. That didn't happen. But she needed to do something, and it's my understanding that she manufactured this story.
"She was out of line because she went and contacted several players on their personal time. Misled them with questions and then put this piece together."
Fisher also said ESPN president John Skipper reached out to him and the Rams to apologize personally.