A documentary series on Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly gay player, has been postponed, according to reps for Sam and the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Sam, 24, recently made history after being selected by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round of the NFL draft. The 6’2″ defensive end for Missouri celebrated the good news in Las Vegas with boyfriend, Vito Cammisano. The documentary series was announced soon afterward.
“After careful consideration and discussion with the St. Louis Rams, ‘The Untitled Michael Sam Project’ has been postponed, allowing Michael the best opportunity to achieve his dream of making the team,” OWN president Erik Logan tells PEOPLE. “OWN is about elevating and empowering people to achieve their best. It’s clear that we, along with the world, recognize the important opportunity that Michael now has in this moment.”
The timing of the series’ announcement caused some to speculate that Sam was more interested in the spotlight than focusing on football, reported ESPN.
“After today’s meeting with the Rams, we collectively feel it is best to postpone the project,” Sam’s agent, Cameron Weiss of Empire Athletes, tells PEOPLE. “This will allow for Michael to have a total focus on football, and will ensure no distractions to his teammates. Everybody involved remains committed to this project and understands its historical importance as well as its positive message.”
Sam, who grew up in Hitchcock, Texas, and was recently featured in PEOPLE’s exclusive portfolio of gay athletes, revealed he came out publicly sooner than he’d planned to, expecting to tell the management of whatever team drafted him about his personal life. His former University of Missouri teammates knew last fall but didn’t share the information outside the team, he told PEOPLE.
“I’m probably one of the few to be as blessed as I am, to have great teammates the way I did, and have the great coaching staff the way I did at Mizzou,” he said in an interview with PEOPLE. “Everyone in that program was so respectful of me, I wanted to give them all I got.”
Whether or not the OWN series on Sam will move forward at a later time is unknown.
“We will continue to support him in his journey to earn a spot playing for the Rams,” OWN’s Logan tells PEOPLE.