Former Missouri linebacker, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and the NFL’s first openly gay player, Michael Sam, is currently attending his first day of training camp, in hopes of securing a place on the St. Louis Ram’s roster. Sam made history this year when he was drafted in the seventh round by St. Louis, but it seems that his sexuality is still a subject of conversation.
If NBC analyst, Hall of Famer and Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy was coaching the Rams, he wouldn’t have drafted Sam at all.
"I wouldn't have taken him,'' Dungy said in an interview with the Tampa Bay 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."
One has to wonder what are these "things" that Dungy is actually referring to. Did he mean that grown men would be forced to actually treat Sam as a teammate and not ostracize him because of his sexuality? Or would these grown men, who should know right from wrong, not accept Sam because of his sexuality?
I get it, freedom of speech. But as a conservative, you have to wonder if Dungy has more of an issue with Sam being gay, than about his ability to play football. This isn’t the first time Dungy has sounded off in regard to the LGBT community. Two years ago, he blasted President Barack Obama on his stance in favor of gay marriage, and was upset that the president veered away from the Bible.
Some people have taken issue with Dungy’s comments and feel that as the first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl, he should be more accepting of people regardless of their differences. But it’s obvious that Dungy could be holding hard onto his biblical beliefs.
For a former coach who had the ability to support athletes such as Michael Vick following his dog-fighting arrest, which was an actual distraction for quite some time, you'd think he'd know how to deal with things that really aren't a distraction. Of course there will be publicity surrounding Sam, but who's to say that will hinder his progress on the football field?
Those on social media seem to be split on whether Dungy’s comments were appropriate or not:
Maybe those with an issue with Sam's sexuality should spend more time worrying about how he handles the football, and less time concerning themselves with his love life. The distraction looming is the one Dungy created himself with his comments.
Yesha Callahan is editor of The Grapevine and a staff writer at The Root. Follow her on Twitter.