Tony Dungy Defends Michael Sam Comments, Denies Homophobia

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Tony Dungy won the Super Bowl as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts in 2007.

But he didn't win over a lot of fans this week when he said he would NOT have drafted Michael Sam for his team, explaining that the first openly gay player in NFL history would be too much of a "distraction."

"I wouldn't have taken him. 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 told The Tampa Tribune, adding:

"It's not going to be totally smooth ... things will happen."

This remark especially caused a stir because Dungy openly campaigned for Michael Vick to be given a fair chance in the league after he served two years in prison on dog fighting charges awhile back.

Dungy later became a mentor for Vick, who, as a star quarterback seeing a starting position again, was a far more prominent player with a far more shady past than that of Sam.

The defensive end was drafted by the Rams in the seventh round and just hopes to make the team.

In a statement Tuesday, Dungy implied he should have been asked specific follow-up questions by writer Ira Kaufman and sought to clarify his stance.

"I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does," Dungy said.

"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 ex-coach went on to try and walk a fine line between who, exactly, would be distracted by Sam's presence on a team and why he, personally, would not have drafted Sam.

"I do not believe Michael's sexual orientation will be a distraction to his teammates or his organization. I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction. Unfortunately we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction.

"I wish Michael Sam nothing but the best in his quest to become a star in the NFL and I am confident he will get the opportunity to show what he can do on the field. My sincere hope is that we will be able to focus on his play and not on his sexual orientation."

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