"Clearly on Tuesday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports."
"ESPN regrets the manner in which we presented our report," the network said in a statement Wednesday. "Clearly on Tuesday we collectively failed to meet the standards we have set in reporting on LGBT-related topics in sports"
Anderson's report generated widespread criticism after its tone-deaf examination of whether Sam was showering with his teammates or waiting until later. She quoted one unnamed player as saying that Sam was "respecting their space" and that he "seemed to be waiting" to take a shower. This led Rams All-Pro lineman Chris Long to tweet: "Dear ESPN, everyone but you is over it."
The network first tried to justify its report, saying, "In response to recent questions about Sam fitting in with the team, the Rams brought up the shower topic and we relayed that information as part of our reporting." However, that was not the tone of Andeson's report and she claimed only one player's sense of Sam's showering habits, not multiple players.
The whole shower issue has been the most consistent stereotype associated with openly gay male athletes, implying that they would become crazed sex fiends once they see a teammate naked. Scott Cooper, a former college football player who was openly gay on his team, wrote about the reality:
"Imagine a big room that has sweaty, nasty workout clothes hanging everywhere, tape and other garbage lurking in corners, and a toilet area that doesn't exactly smell like roses. Definitely isn't the most romantic spot on earth. And when you get in the shower, all you think about is avoiding icy cold water, pee in the drains (don't lie, you do it too), and the backside of some offensive lineman that desperately needs bathing. When you get in the shower, ever muscle hurts, the water stings like hell on those turf burns, and your only focus is getting off that damn pre-tape wrap that is stuck to your skin. Just getting clean, getting dry, and putting on deodorant are your only top priorities. Does it sound like a porno scene? No? That's because it's not."
ESPN never should have aired the segment in the first place. The Rams players have handled Sam's openness much better than some in the media.
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