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The NFL vs Michael Sam

Michael Sam’s Reality Show vs. the Reality of the NFL

Michael Sam's popularity clashes with the NFL's brand, so it's no surprise that his OWN docu-series was canceled before it even aired. 

The NFL’s brand is suffocating and impenetrable; it fines players $10,000 for wearing unapproved hats and the wrong color shoes. The public appearances that players do make outside of a football stadium are usually team-sponsored and endorsement-focused. Sam is showing that his power and significance don’t depend on the league. Against the backdrop of the increasing opportunity, through the Internet’s king-making, for individual athletes to build and customize their public brands, the NFL is resisting Sam’s right to explore his reputation in the way he would like.

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