Former NFL Coach Tony Dungy Says He Wouldn't Have Drafted Michael Sam [UPDATED]

St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick Michael Sam listens to a question during a news conference at the NFL football team's
St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick Michael Sam listens to a question during a news conference at the NFL football team's practice facility Tuesday, May 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Former NFL coach Tony Dungy has a Super Bowl ring on his finger, but he wouldn't want Michael Sam, the NFL's first openly gay player, on his team.

In an interview published Sunday in the Tampa Bay Tribune, Dungy didn't mince words when it came to discussing Sam, a defensive end drafted by the St. Louis Rams earlier this year. "I wouldn’t have taken him," Dungy 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," he added, "things will happen."

Bold words for Dungy, the coach who took disgraced quarterback Michael Vick under his wing in 2010, after the former Eagles player served 18 months in federal prison for his role in a dog-fighting ring.

But there's yet more irony in Dungy's anti-Sam statement: CBS Sports points out Dungy wrote the foreword for a book on discrimination and opportunity in the NFL.

As the NFL's first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl, an accomplishment he earned in 2007 when his Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears, Dungy likely knows a thing or two about dealing with discrimination in the NFL.

UPDATE: In a statement released on Tuesday, Dungy sought to clarify his remarks about Michael Sam. Via ProFootballTalk:

On Monday afternoon while on vacation with my family, I was quite surprised to read excerpts from an interview I gave several weeks ago related to this year’s NFL Draft, and I feel compelled to clarify those remarks.

I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that 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.

Click here to read the full statement.



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