There are lots of reasons to get upset with how Michael Sam's story played out in the NFL. Despite succeeding on the field in the SEC and NFL preseason, he was never placed on an active roster and didn't even get a phone call about a futures contract after the 2014 season. Michael Sam never made an active roster (though I do feel the Rams gave him a fair shake), and had to wait until the seventh round to be drafted, because he came out as gay.
This news that the NFL had some deal with the St. Louis Rams that protected the team from being on 'Hard Knocks' is being blown out of proportion. In addition to the Rams vehemently denying it, nobody, myself included, thought in 2014 that the NFL would ever put the Rams or any team that drafted Sam on that show.
Did the NFL and Rams have some quid pro quo - "you draft him and we won't put you on Hard Knocks" - deal? I have no idea. Again, the team denies it. I have no doubt that Sam was at the top of their draft board - he should have been at the top of every team's draft board by the late seventh round. And I imagine the show vis-a-vis Sam was discussed by a lot of people pre-Draft. But at the end of the day, nobody thinks they would have put the Rams in front of those cameras, especially after the brouhaha over "the Oprah show."
What this does do is continue to remind us that Sam was treated differently by the League because he is gay. Not everyone in the League, but enough of them to make a difference.