Michael Sam Should Decline WWE’s Invite
Last night on Monday Night Raw, it was announced that the WWE invited now free agent DE Michael Sam to next week’s Monday Night Raw. If Sam accepts the invitation, he will be given an open mic to discuss his release from the St. Louis Rams. It is in my opinion that if Sam wants to continue his NFL career, he should decline WWE’s invitation.
This is not first time this offseason that Sam has been rumored to appear in a television series. During the offseason, Sam and his team were in negotiations with OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) over a possible mini-series about his journey to make the Rams’ 53-man roster. That deal was scrapped early on as Sam himself stated that his sole focus was making the Rams’ active roster and nothing else.
Appearing on Monday Night Raw doesn’t make any sense for Sam, but it does for WWE. With ESPN running a Monday Night Football doubleheader that will air alongside Monday Night Raw, McMahon is making a smart business move by inviting Sam to join his show in an effort to win the ratings game.
In an open letter to Sam on WWE’s website, Stephanie McMahon, Vince’s daughter and Chief Brand Officer of WWE, wrote: “Exhibiting class and dignity rarely shown in professional sports, Michael Sam, WWE invites you to next Monday’s Raw to speak of your struggles to succeed, lessons you have learned along the way, the courage it takes to be yourself and the prospects of your continued journey. You are a role model, who, by example, can encourage everyone to stand up and openly be themselves.”
Just because Sam is not on an NFL roster doesn’t mean that he’s not being evaluated by other NFL teams. Sam’s off-field behavior and potential business ventures will determine whether he gets another chance in the NFL. What I mean by this is that if Sam now becomes a media darling whose focus is on publicity and promoting a cause instead of improving as a football player, none of the 32 NFL teams will even give Sam, the 2013 SEC Defensive Player of the Year, a call to join the practice squad.
If Sam was true and genuine when he said that his sole focus is making an NFL roster (as he stated when he came out before the NFL Scouting Combine), the only move that Sam can make is to reject WWE’s invitation.