Jason La Canfora: ‘Don’t Need To Know Shower Dynamics’
In a report that Rams coach Jeff Fisher deemed “unethical” and “unprofessional,” ESPN’s Josina Anderson did a piece about Michael Sam’s showering habits – when he is showering, when he is not showering and whether it is or isn’t making his teammates uncomfortable.
“I just don’t care (about that),” CBSSports.com NFL insider Jason La Canfora said on The John Feinstein Show. “I have been interested in a lot of things about a lot of teams over the years. Who showers when and the whereabouts of whom, (I just don’t care). I understand this is an unusual story. Obviously he’s a trailblazer. My sense from the beginning was this was much ado about nothing and that these guys aren’t given nearly the amount of credit they deserve. If this guy belongs on the football team and conducts himself normally like most rookies would, this is going to be the biggest non-story in the history of the world.”
“And I think that’s proven to be the case,” La Canfora continued, “except for occasions where Tony Dungy made his comments. It’s always been sort of outside stuff or media-triggered quasi-stories that have kind of continued to perpetuate this. I don’t think it’s the most egregious thing in the world that it was sort of reported on, (but) personally, I don’t care. It’s not a kind of question I would go around asking anyone. If this is an issue in that locker room, it’s going to come out organically just by the way you would normally cover a team – not through a straw poll of who’s comfortable showering with whom.”
ESPN issued an apology for Anderson’s report, and president John Skipper called Fisher personally to make amends.
Still, it wasn’t the greatest example of journalistic ambition or integrity on Anderson’s part. She reported the comments of one person – off the record, no less – and never asked Sam about them.
“It’s just not a territory that I would really ever be comfortable going in – whether sort of just casually throwing one off-the-record observation from one player, or if I had five guys saying, ‘I’m not comfortable with it,’” La Canfora said. “Because right now, it’s not even an issue of 53. They just cut to 75. That’s a large group of individuals – (and) you got 20 people on the coaching staff and 15 scouts and other front-office staff and trainers and assistant trainers and equipment guys.”
“Again the reality is if this was some sort of an issue, we would have had an outpouring,” La Canfora continued. “It wouldn’t have just been one guy. It would have been five or 10 guys off the record going to reporters who are there every day saying, ‘Hey, we got a problem here.’”
Unfortunately for Sam, whether he showers with his teammates or not, it’s almost a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don’t thing. If he showers with his teammates, he might make some of them uncomfortable. If he doesn’t shower with his teammates, he’s acknowledging that he’s different and not just “one of the guys.”
But again, that’s really none of our business.
“However he deals with it, I don’t need to know,” La Canfora said. “Maybe that’s a journalistic blight on me, but that’s just not really (important). Inter-team shower dynamics, that level of interpersonal politics – whether I’m privy to it or not, (I don’t care).”
“Again, I’ve had the overriding sense from the beginning that they embrace this kid, they want to see him succeed, they’re trying to put him in position to succeed and they did this for a reason. It wasn’t to be exploitative. It wasn’t to make a mockery of this whole thing. It was to try to give him enough incubation and respect so that maybe this could actually work out.”