Tony Dungy’s comments on openly gay NFL player Michael Sam draw ire

Tony Dungy said in an interview that he would not have drafted Michael Sam.
(Steven C. Mitchell / EPA)

Esteemed NFL coach turned NBC analyst Tony Dungy is taking fire for saying he would not have drafted Michael Sam, the league’s first openly gay player.

In an interview with the Tampa Tribune published Sunday, the former coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts said he would have passed on Sam. “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,” Dungy said.

Dungy went on to say, “It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’

Dungy did not say what, exactly, were the things he anticipated happening.

Sam, the former Missouri defensive player, was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams and has the sixth bestselling jersey in the league, according to the NFL.


Dungy’s comments drew immediate ire online, with people calling him ignorant and offensive.

Some of those comments included:

“... to not draft an openly gay player because someone...might...not handle some kind of Jim Crow-era awful,” one Twitter commenter said.

“So it turns out Tony Dungy is a coward? Didn’t see that coming,” another commenter said.

Still, there were those who supported Dungy.

“So glad Tony Dungy said what he said. Sorry he has to get bashed for it though. You can’t obtain tolerance by forcing it on society,” one commenter said.

Dungy, an avid Twitter user with almost 500,000 followers, has been mum since the article was published.

NBC Sports did not comment on the issue.

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