A partial list of active NFL players on reality TV shows, not including Michael Sam

Two days after announcing that it would produce and air a Michael Sam documentary reality series following the first-ever openly gay player to be drafted in the NFL, Oprah Winfrey’s network “postponed” its plans. The reason, as his agent said: the desire for “Michael to have a total focus on football, and will ensure no distractions to his teammates.”

There was a lot of pushback in the sports-watching world, including from sports media, because the NFL is not an organization in which players capitalize on their fame or draw attention to themselves and their uplifting, inspirational stories.

In addition, the NFL is so committed to making sure there are no distractions that it decided for force teams to be featured on a reality show. And let’s not forget that there was the possibility Michael Sam might have kissed a dude that he’s in a relationship with on the show and who knows what would have happened then (spoiler: armageddon).

Thankfully, an active, non-retired NFL player has never, ever before participated in a reality series–except for all these people, who all obviously appeared on non-distracting reality shows:

  • Eric Decker: Eric & Jessie: Game On, E!
  • Chad Ochocinco Johnson: Dancing with the Stars, ABC; Ochocinco: The Ultimate Catch, VH1.
  • Terrell Owens: The T.O. Show, VH1; The Superstars, ABC.
  • Hank Baskett, Kendra, VH1
  • Ndamukong Suh, Splash, ABC; The Choice, Fox
  • Hines Ward: Dancing with the Stars, ABC
  • Donald Driver: Dancing with the Stars, ABC.
  • Jason Taylor: Dancing with the Stars, ABC.
  • Kroy Biermann: Don’t Be Tardy for the Wedding and The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Bravo.
  • At least 50 players and coaches for the Baltimore Ravens, Dallas Cowboys, Kansas City Chiefs, Cincinnati Bengals, New York Jets, and Miami Dolphins: Hard Knocks, HBO

Who am I missing? (I’m not counting guest appearances, such as to judge a challenge or something similar.) Let me know!

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.