Tony Dungy Gets Blasted for Being Honest About Michael Sam
Let’s get this out in the open right now. I’ve tried to keep this part of my life somewhat secret for years now, and only a few people really know this about me. But, I think the time is right to come forward and admit the truth.
I am a New England Patriots fan.
There, I said it. I feel…better. It’s as if a weight has been lifted and I can now be the “real” me during football season.
Being a Pats fan means that for years I loathed the Indianapolis Colts. Under the expert leadership of Coach Tony Dungy the Colts were a perennial powerhouse in the AFC and more than once prevented my Patriots from advancing in the playoffs. But as much as I disliked the Colts on the field, I’ve never had anything but the highest respect for Tony Dungy.
In fact, what I would say is that any player would be blessed to be on a team coached by Dungy. The combination of his character and his coaching abilities made him one of the NFL’s best coaches – and he’s got the ring to prove it. But not everyone is excited at the thought of being coached by Tony Dungy.
Here’s the story. When asked if he would have drafted Sam, Coach Dungy said:
“I wouldn’t have taken him. 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.”
Of course the Internet exploded and many liberal heads spun at the mere thought of not taking the NFL’s first openly gay player. But Dungy made it clear that it was a football decision and had nothing to do with Sam being gay. Dungy was simply echoing what most NFL teams silently said in not drafting Sam, that he is, at best, a marginal player that may or may not make the team. There’s a reason he wasn’t drafted until the end of the 7th round (the last round for you non-NFL peeps).
When Sam was told about Dungy’s comments, he said: “Thank God he wasn’t the St. Louis Rams coach.”
To be fair Sam said he had a lot of respect for Coach Dungy and that everyone in America is entitled to their opinion. This is a tempered and appropriate response to Coach Dungy’s comments.
If only the rest of the media would adopt the same attitude that Sam has going.
In a short segment for ESPN, commentator Skip Bayless said he shared a lot of Dungy’s beliefs, but couldn’t believe that he would make such a statement. Bayless’ comments came after ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith defended Dungy and said he can’t figure out what all the hoopla is about. Smith said:
“Number one, I’m really disgusted at all the hoopla and the noise that has been made because of Tony Dungy’s comments. I don’t find them remotely controversial — I want to be very, very clear about that… Get over it! Whether it’s a religious perspective, or taking his quote verbatim, [Dungy] happens to be right! Somebody going to jail for a dogfighting scandal, serving his time in a prison, and then being in an NFL locker room, is not necessarily something that will cause a distraction in the eyes of players, compared to somebody that is gay in a locker room. We don’t like to say that, but it’s just the truth!”
Smith is right about Dungy being right.
Throughout the draft process the talk about Michael Sam centered around the fact that he is gay, and that he is the first openly gay player seeking to be drafted. There was more talk about his gay-ness than there was about his actual football skill. In fact, I was dumbfounded at the fact that a few commentators were brave enough to say that Sam was not really skilled enough to make the NFL but would most likely be drafted simply because he was gay!
And yet people continue to be “disturbed” by Dungy’s comments or the fact that many people agree with him. One article reported:
Michael David Smith at ProFootballTalk described Dungy’s comments as “disturbing,” because, “If everyone refused to hire minorities because it could cause a distraction, no minority group would ever make any progress.”
And some of the Twitter comments made included:
“… to not draft an openly gay player because someone…might…not handle it…is 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.
Wait a minute. Did that guy just equate being gay with being a black? Yep, more than one person did that. Apparently the liberal rhetoric is working as people are being duped into believing that homosexuality is a civil rights issue equal to the struggle faced by African Americans. But let’s see if that theory holds up.
Can gay people vote? Yep.
Can gay people get any job they are qualified for? Yep Yep.
Can gay people ride any bus, drink from any water fountain, go to any school, and in general live their life peacefully? Yep Yep Yep.
So is it really fair to say they are dealing with the same civil rights issue faced by blacks? The last time I checked black people can’t change the color of their skin. But I do know some former homosexuals who represent many thousands of former homosexuals. So, no, not the same issue at all. Matt Walsh did his best to help people understand that being gay and being black is not remotely the same:
“…blacks are a people. A culture. A race. A heritage. Black is part of their identity, by any measure. Physically, genetically, socially, culturally. Homosexuals, on the other hand, are not a race. They are not a people. They are people, individually, but they are not an actual community as a whole. There is no ‘gay heritage.’ They are not any different physically or genetically. You are gay because of your sexual activities, whereas you are black because that’s who you are. The two are not analogous, they are not similar, they are not in the same vein, they are not comparable. They are two completely different things. Just as I am not in a ‘straight community’ or part of a ‘straight culture’ or a member of a ‘straight lineage,’ neither are gays. My people are not heterosexuals. I do not have a shared ancestry with straights, nor does our straightness align us in any deep or meaningful way. Your sexual proclivity is different from your ethnicity, just as it is different from your religion or your gender.”
The bottom line is that Tony Dungy made a common sense, sane, logical statement about what his draft strategy would be. He didn’t comment on Michael Sam’s sexuality, didn’t say he should not be in the NFL, didn’t disparage him in any way. Dungy said what 31 NFL teams said by not drafting Sam and yet Dungy is “the bad guy” for saying it.
I’m with Stephen A. Smith on this one: “Get over it!”