Tony Dungy reacts to Tampa Tribune article: 'Michael Sam absolutely deserves to play in NFL'

By Taylor Ellis,

One day after his comments regarding St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam sparked controversy, former NFL head coach Tony Dungy has done some backpedaling on Tuesday.

Dungy told Ira Kaufman of the Tampa Tribune, “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. It’s not going to be totally smooth; things will happen.”

On Tuesday, Dungy released a statement that said, “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.”

Dungy went on to say that he does not believe his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process or that he’d have a problem with Sam on his team.

Dungy clarified that he believes the media attention will become a distraction.

Dungy has shown support for many different athletes over the years, including Michael Vick, Plaxico Burress, and even Jason Collins, who became the first openly gay NBA player last year, according to NY Daily News.

image via Roger Wong/INFphoto.com

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