St. Louis Rams defensive end Michael Sam, the first player in NFL history to publicly announce that he is gay, is thankful that Tony Dungy wasn't running the show in the Rams' war room during the NFL Draft.
On Monday, Dungy was quoted as saying he wouldn't have drafted Sam because he would be too much of a "distraction." The remark gained national attention and spread like a wildfire.
"Thank God he wasn't St. Louis Rams' coach," Sam told NFL Network on Tuesday. "But I have a great respect for Dungy, and everyone in America is entitled to their own opinions."
Dungy attempted to clarify his remarks by saying Sam "absolutely" deserves a chance to play in the NFL. Here's a portion of the statement Dungy released Tuesday, courtesy of USA Today.
I was asked whether I would have drafted Michael Sam and I answered that would not have drafted him,” he wrote. “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.
Dungy's full statement can be read at the Indy Star.
Keith Olbermann believes Dungy only made the situation worse with his statement, referring to the former Gophers quarterback, Vikings defensive coordinator and Super Bowl winning coach of the Indianapolis Colts as the sports world's worst person.
“Tony Dungy just admitted that Tony Dungy wouldn’t be a skilled enough coach to deal with the distraction of doing the right thing,” Olbermann said during his show on ESPN.
Olbermann did make note that Dungy once received an award from a group that was trying for a ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana. Dungy surprised the group by publicly supporting their efforts.