Tony Dungy released this statement today to clarify the remarks he made about not wanting to draft Michael Sam. You can read the full release at Pro Football Talk. Here are some of the highlights:
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.
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.
So...Dungy thinks Michael wouldn't be a distraction to the team, but a few extra cameras at press conferences are reason enough to not draft him? He blames Oprah Winfrey for not wanting to draft Michael Sam? As I've said before, this is no great leader of men.
Dungy went to bat for a dog-killer getting out of jail and a devout Christian who prays after every touchdown, both of whom brought a flood of media attention. He had no problem advocating for them. A gay player - that's just too much distraction.
Some in the NFL will fall for Dungy's explanation and ignore his history of fighting against gay rights and saying he does not "agree" with being gay.