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Michael Sam does not want to be an NFL draft sideshow, turns down ESPN and NFL Network

NFL: Combine

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Feb 22, 2014; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Missouri Tigers defensive end Michael Sam speaks to the media in a press conference during the 2014 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports)

NFL draft prospect Michael Sam has repeatedly said he does not want to be known for his sexual orientation. He proved it once again by turning down publicity offers from ESPN and the NFL Network.

Both networks were interested in following Sam around during the draft, but he does not want any part of their coverage.

Sam’s move does not come as a surprise.

His goal is to be viewed like every other rookie, and he does not want to be known solely as the NFL’s first openly gay player. Considering the networks are not offering to follow around every mid-to-late-round draft pick, Sam understands their interest is based primarily on his sexual orientation.

There is also a chance Sam may not be drafted at all, and having cameras around to magnify his disappointment would have been a horrible idea.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, many NFL scouts would pass on the opportunity to draft Sam this week:

The Journal Sentinel polled 21 scouts with national responsibilities asking what round, if any, they would be comfortable selecting Sam.Three said fifth round. Three said sixth round. Three said seventh round. Five said they would sign him as a free agent. Seven said they wouldn't sign him as a free agent. Three scouts from clubs using the 4-3 defense said emphatically that Sam didn't fit their scheme. Conversely, two scouts from teams using the 3-4 defense said emphatically that Sam didn't fit their scheme.

To be fair, NFL scouts do not have the final say on draft day. Coaches and general managers usually make all the decisions. There are times when a coach or general manager may ask a scout for information, but they are not asked to make picks.

However, if there is a risk Sam may not be drafted, it makes sense for him to avoid the spotlight until he is selected, or signs with a team as an undrafted free agent. The majority of football players would have made the same decision.

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Anwar S Richardson is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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