Tony Dungy would not have drafted Michael Sam if he were still coaching in the NFL because he wouldn't want to "deal with all of it" — presumably the drama and hype of signing the first openly gay player in the league.
Sam, who was the reigning defensive player of the year in the Southeastern Conference for Missouri, made headlines in May when he became the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL after the St. Louis Rams selected him.
But Dungy, the NBC analyst who guided Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl win in 2007, told The Tampa Tribune
that he would have not made the same decision.
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"I wouldn't have taken him," he said. "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."
Some, like USA Today's Chris Chase, pointed out that some see Dungy
as a hypocrite for shying away from Sam but backing Michael Vick after the dog fighting controversy.
"Given Dungy's 2007 support of an Indiana group hoping to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, some took the quotes as a repudiation of Sam's sexuality," Chase wrote. "Others pointed out the hypocrisy of Dungy supporting Michael Vick after the quarterback was released from federal prison on dog fighting charges. Why was Vick's distraction any different than Sam's?"
While most of the reaction to Dungy's statements has been negative on social media, others came to the coach's defense.
Others, like longtime Indianapolis Star sports columnist Bob Kravitz, tweeted that he was "disappointed" in Dungy's quote.
St. Louis wide receiver T.J. Moe, who was also Sam's teammate at Missouri, also came to the linebacker's defense, saying that he will be treated like anyone else.
"There's a 90-man roster right now," Moe told The Tribune. "It doesn't go 89, and then Michael Sam's over there — this is the gay team, this is the straight team. Michael Sam is on this team and he's treated just like anyone else."
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