Michael Sam responds to Tony Dungy’s comments

Michael Sam & Tony Dungy - Cover

All week long, the world has been talking about former NFL coach Tony Dungy’s comments that he would not have signed openly gay football player Michael Sam because the media attention around his sexuality would be too much of a distraction. Since his initial statement, Dungy has backtracked on his words and claims that his statement was unfairly judged by the public. And although Sam could, understandably, fire back at Dungy with some harsh words of his own, he recently opened up about the matter and took the high road when it came to discussing Dungy.

In an interview posted on NFL.com, Sam was asked about the controversy surrounding Dungy’s comments and he politely responded, “Thank God he wasn’t St. Louis Rams’ coach,” Sam said with a chuckle. “But I have a great respect for Dungy, and everyone in America is entitled to their own opinions,” he added.

However, Sam refused to dwell on the matter and he cut off a reporter who posed a follow up question about Dungy.

“I don’t really care what people are coming up and talking about,” Sam said. “My job is to make this team, that’s my number one priority.”

In the grand scheme of things, this was the best response that Sam could’ve possibly given. While it’s true that Sam still has yet to prove himself on the field, what is clear is that Dungy’s mindset is an example of the fact that there’s a subjective scale of what’s considered a distraction when it comes to a player’s personal life and what isn’t.

While many players have saturated the media with personal stories of domestic violence, dog fighting, shootings, arrests and drug use, and even plastered their stories on TV with reality shows like HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” the only thing Sam is guilty of is being gay and sharing his relationship with his boyfriend to the world.

And although the media coverage of Sam’s sexuality is certainly uncharted territory for the NFL, if everyone NFL head honcho chose to only sign players based on how easy it would be to have them in the public eye, then, historically speaking, few of the minority pioneers that the NFL has produced over the decades would have had a fair chance to showcase their skills and change the world in the process.

But we’re not the only ones who feel that way. Ironically enough, Rams head coach  Jeff Fisher recently spoke to ESPN radio about the Dungy controversy and defended signing Sam to the team. Check out his response after the cut. – nicholas robinson



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