Tags: Sam | Dungy | NFL | gay

Fans Protest Tony Dungy's Clarification on Sam Comments

Image: Fans Protest Tony Dungy's Clarification on Sam Comments NBC studio analyst Tony Dungy. (Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

Thursday, 24 Jul 2014 11:06 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

NBC sports analyst Tony Dungy has clarified his comments on drafting Michael Sam, the first openly gay NFL player, but Dungy's fans are criticizing him now for adding a politically correct spin on his words.

Last weekend, Dungy, the former coach for the Indianapolis Colts, told The Tampa Tribune that he would not have drafted Sam because he would not want to "deal with all of it," and was criticized for what was seen as a statement against Sam's sexuality.

"I wouldn't have taken him," Dungy told the newspaper. "Not because I don't believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn't want to deal with all of it. It's not going to be totally smooth . . . things will happen."

This week, he clarified his comments, saying that he felt that drafting Sam would bring too much distraction to the team because of Oprah Winfrey's now-canceled plans to run a reality show around the rookie's first season.

"I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does," Dungy said.

Many fans, though, supported Dungy's original comments about Sam, and flooded sports sites, reports The Christian Science Monitor.

"This article is just stupid! I wish people would stop equating civil rights with this gay agenda!! IT'S NOT THE SAME," wrote user MsMahogany2u in response to a column on Yahoo Sports about Dungy's remarks.

U.S. Navy hospital corpsman Matt McRimmon commented on ESPN's website that "gone are the day where someone told you their honest opinion on a cause."

Dungy says that in the interview he was asked about his philosophy of drafting rookies to minimize distractions for his teams.

"I do not believe Michael's sexual orientation will be a distraction to his teammates or his organization," said Dungy. "I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction. Unfortunately we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction."

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