Tony Dungy Draws Flak for Saying Wouldn't Have Drafted Gay Player

Image: Tony Dungy Draws Flak for Saying Wouldn't Have Drafted Gay Player (Joe Corrigan/Getty Images)

Monday, 21 Jul 2014 11:00 PM

By Greg Richter

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Former Super Bowl-winning coach and NBC football analyst Tony Dungy is under fire for saying he would not have drafted Michael Sam, the National Football League's first openly gay player.

Dungy made the comments in an interview published Sunday in The Tampa Tribune.

"I wouldn't have taken him," said Dungy, who coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts. "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," Dungy continued. "Things will happen."

The quotes were part of a larger story on how the NFL is now focusing on how its players are treated by teammates, but Dungy's comments are getting the most attention.

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh spoke on Monday's show about what he expects may happen.

"The media presence is gonna be there," Limbaugh said, "and no matter what decision the coaching staff makes about Sam – whether he plays or not, whether he gets cut or not – it's all gonna be held up through the prism of, 'Is it because he's gay?'"

Some critics saw Dungy's words as hypocritical, because he supported Michael Vick's return to football after Vick served a prison sentence for animal cruelty, and offered to mentor him.

"A sadistic dog murdering sociopath is worthy of helping, but a law-abiding gay man is too much for Dungy to handle," wrote a commenter on The Tampa Tribune's story.

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Dungy did find some supporters amid the critics on Twitter:

Dungy himself is an avid Twitter user but has tweeted nothing since the story came out on Sunday.

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