Tony Dungy issued the obligatory apology today regarding comments about Michael Sam appearing Monday in the Tampa Tribune.
“I wouldn’t have taken him,” Dungy said in Monday’s paper. “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.”
Dungy points out in a post today at ProFootballTalk, owned by his employer NBC, that he made the comments weeks ago in the aftermath of reports of a reality-television show for the openly-gay player. He says that the defensive end isn’t the distraction but the media hype surrounding him is. The Super Bowl champion coach and player wrote:
I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that I would not have drafted him. 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.
The Christian coach apologized for contributing to the media sensationalism surrounding Sam and wished him the best. The NBC Sunday Night Football analyst concluded, “My sincere hope is that we will be able to focus on his play and not on his sexual orientation.”