*Former Colts and Buccaneers head coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy says that if he were still an NFL head coach, he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam, who became the first openly gay player in league history when the Rams selected him in May.
“I wouldn’t have taken him,’’ Dungy told the Tampa Tribune. “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.’’
What Dungy is expressing publicly is similar to what some coaches and general managers have said privately, in anonymous quotes in stories about Sam before the draft, reports NBC.com’s ProFootballTalk. But Dungy is the highest-profile person in the NFL world to put his name behind the viewpoint that Sam would cause a distraction and would be more trouble than he’s worth.
Sam, was taken in the seventh round by the Rams and has an uphill battle to make the team’s opening day 53-man roster.
“If you’re going to take a leadership position by drafting Michael, you have to expect the good and the bad,” said Rams chief operating officer Kevin Demoff. “We’re prepared for it, and I think we’ll shine through it.”
After Sam came out in February, Dungy had this to say:
“The NFL has always been based on merit, and I think that will continue to be the case with Michael Sam and the issue homosexuality or anything else. Guys who produce and play well will be welcomed into the league.”