Michael Sam is ‘Absolutely Not’ a Distraction for Rams But Tony Dungy is Becoming One
By Chris Greenberg Former NFL coach Tony Dungy vaguely claimed that “things will happen” when explaining why he would not have drafted openly gay football player Michael Sam. What he didn’t say at the time was that one of those things would, apparently, be Tony Dungy.
The former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who is currently an NBC analyst, drew attention to himself and Sam as the St. Louis Rams were preparing to get training camp underway for the upcoming season with comments to the Tampa Tribune. Sam, the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year who came out in February, waited until the eighth-to-last selection of the entire 2014 NFL draft before being selected by the Rams.
“I wouldn’t have taken him,’’ Dungy told Tampa Tribune reporter Ira Kaufman. “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 also told the Tribune. “Things will happen.”
The comments by Dungy, who advocated for teams to give Michael Vick a second chance to return to the NFL after the quarterback served time in prison for his involvement in running a dogfighting ring, appeared in an article published by the Tampa Tribune. They sparked controversy and earned him the title of the “World’s Worst Person In Sports” on Keith Olbermann’s ESPN2 program.
“Thank God he wasn’t St. Louis Rams’ coach,” Sam responded with a laugh, via NFL.com. “But I have a great respect for Dungy, and everyone in America is entitled to their own opinions.”
Rams head coach Jeff Fisher also addressed Dungy’s comments during an appearance on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike” radio show. He stated that Sam was “absolutely not” a distraction for his football team.