A few days ago someone asked former coach Tony Dungy if he would draft Michael Sam. Sam is the college football athlete who has publically come out and said he’s gay. Dungy’s remark has ignited a controversy, and proved his point about Sam.
“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.” Dungy said.
It appears harsh, but it is not.
Now, I do support gay rights, I support their right to be married under the government, but Dungy is right about Sam. Football is a team sport, emphasis on team here, and any coach wishes to minimize distractions. Now Sam may, or may not be a pro-NFL caliber player. There are always questions surrounding drafted players
What Dungy is talking about is the how the media attacked him for offering his opinion as a former coach on drafting Sam. He did not wish to deal with all the baggage the media will bring in. Dungy clarified his comments later on.
“I gave my honest answer, which is that I felt drafting him would bring much distraction to the team.
“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.”
“What I was asked about was my philosophy of drafting, a philosophy that was developed over the years, which was to minimize distractions for my teams.”
“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.”
The media in their blitz against Dungy has only proven his point.
Sam will forever be questioned about every aspect of his football career. Did his publically announcing of his sexuality effect his draft number, both for and against. Did others not take him earlier because of the distractions, or did some feel pressured to take him so the league would not be accused of being homophobic?
If he makes the team, is it because the team is afraid of cutting him because of the outrage the media will have? Will he be given a fair shot by others in his team?
The media and the gay right community will only compound this poor guys chances, not enhance them. Sometimes, its best for the media to lay off a bit and allow things to progress. This is one of those times, but they will not because they have an agenda to push.