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.