Tony Dungy – former Super Bowl-winning coach of the Indianapolis Colts – recently said that he “wouldn’t want to deal with” drafting the NFL’s first openly gay rookie player, Michael Sam.
To start off, Tony Dungy spoke about why he was releasing the statement.
“On Monday afternoon while on vacation with my family, I was quite surprised to read excerpts from an interview I gave several weeks ago related to this year’s NFL Draft, and I feel compelled to clarify those remarks.”
Tony Dungy went on to say that when asked whether or not he would have drafted the first openly gay player in the NFL, his answer was that he would not. Dungy said that he thought drafting Sam would have brought too much distraction to his players.
“At the time of my interview, the Oprah Winfrey reality show that was going to chronicle Michael’s first season had been announced.”
Tony Dungy is speaking to the reality show put together by Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network on Michael Sam, a show that was postponed back in May after the backlash against the show’s announcement, as reported by CBS Sports.
Continuing, Tony Dungy attempted to make himself very clear:
“I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves to play in the NFL. He does.”
“I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not.”
“I was not asked whether or not I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.”
Tony Dungy went on to say that he has been asked those questions several times in the last three months, and his answers have never wavered. Tony Dungy then went on to say that the question he was asked, the one that got him into this mess in the first place, was about his “draft philosophy.” Dungy went on to say that his draft philosophy was always about minimizing distractions for his players.
“I do not believe Michael’s sexual orientation will be a distraction for his teammates or his organization.”
“I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction.”
Here, Tony Dungy’s comments – or clarifications – seem to be at odds with one another. He seems to be saying that it’s fine if Michael Sam is gay, but the attention that comes with being gay is a distraction, and therefore, according to Tony Dungy’s draft philosophy, undesirable.
What do you think about Tony Dungy’s comments and clarifications?