Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy recently told the Tampa Bay Times that he would not take Michael Sam in the NFL draft. Dungy said, “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.”
Some people feel what Dungy said about Sam was fair. NFL teams always want to avoid distractions at all costs, and they always want the team focused on football. But Dungy should have gotten an NFL head coaching job way before his first one in Tampa Bay, and lot of people around the NFL are grateful that he was able to show people an African-American head coach can succeed in the NFL. That’s why I find his comments very disappointing.
I find Dungy’s words disappointing considering all that he went through as an African-American head coach. You would think that a person who had to fight to get his dream job would understand what Sam is going through.
Personally, I think that this whole thing on distractions is way overblown. If I were an NFL GM, I would rather deal with a distraction of an openly gay player than deal with a player who got charged with domestic abuse. If I felt that Sam could make a contribution to my football team I would take him without any doubts. There is no better message you could send to a team than saying, “I don’t care about what you do at home. If you can help us win football games then that’s all that matters.”
Even though what he said is what a lot of people were thinking and you do have to respect him for standing behind his beliefs, just because everyone was thinking it doesn’t mean that it’s right. Dungy has spoken out for players like Michael Vick to get a second chance, so why shouldn’t a player like Sam get a chance at all? He is no different than you or me except he is probably capable of being on an NFL team.
I have a lot of respect for Dungy; he showed the world that you don’t have to scream and yell and belittle your players to be an effective head coach in the NFL. He showed that, if given the chance, he could be one of the best coaches in league history.
Sam is fighting for something bigger than a roster position on an NFL team. He is fighting to show the world that your talent and ability to help the team is what really matters, not your sexual preferences. Dungy was fighting for something bigger too, and he accomplished that as well. I expected Dungy to be a different thinker because of all that he went through, and if anyone can relate to Sam, it should be Dungy.