Tony Dungy clarified the comments he made earlier this week saying he wouldn't have drafted Michael Sam because he did not want to "deal with all of it" — presumably the drama and hype of signing the first openly gay player in the league.
Dungy, the former Indianapolis Colts head coach turned NBC sports analyst, told The Tampa Tribune over the weekend
that, if he were still coaching, he would have skipped on drafting Sam. The 24-year-old defensive standout at Missouri was ultimately picked up by the St. Louis Rams back in May.
"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."
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The comments immediately ignited debate on social media
, where some defended Dungy and others, pointing out the fact that the coach supported Michael Vick through the whole dog-fighting scandal, called him a hypocrite.
Dungy attempted to set the record straight on Tuesday with a statement.
"I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that I would not have drafted him," he said. "I gave my honest answer, which is that I felt drafting him would bring much distraction to the team. At the time of my interview, the Oprah Winfrey reality show that was going to chronicle Michael's first season had been announced."
"I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely 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 I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not."
Dungy specified that it is not Sam's sexual orientation that he felt would have been a distraction from the game, but the media attention that surrounds the young man.
Dungy's statement didn’t fully quiet his Twitter critics, but many sports commentators felt it served the purpose of explaining his position.
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