Tony Dungy addressed his controversial Michael Sam comments on the Dan Patrick Show on Monday, saying, "Even though I don’t agree with his lifestyle, I love him. And I wish him the best, and I’d love to say that to him."
On Tuesday, Dungy released a statement to clarify the comments. On Wednesday morning, Dungy went on The Dan Patrick Show to discuss the comments.
Patrick asked Dungy whether he planned to reach out to Sam to talk about the recent news the quotes have made.
“I hadn’t thought about it, but I think it might be a good idea. [I'd] love to do that, and hopefully I get the chance,” Dungy said. “I would want to wish him the best and let him know I have no bitterness or animosity toward him. Even though I don’t agree with his lifestyle, I love him. And I wish him the best, and I’d love to say that to him.”
Dungy compared the situation around Sam to the situation around former Dolphins and current 49ers offensive tackle Jonathan Martin, who left Miami after being bullied in the locker room. Dungy said the question raised is often the talent level vs. the level of distraction to the team.
From Pro Football Talk:
“I talked to some general managers,” Dungy said regarding work that was done during the 2013 football season, “and they said that Jonathan definitely has the talent to play in the league, but would they want the distraction of everybody’s following the story, and people asking their players over and over, ‘How are things going?’, ‘What’s going on with Jonathan?’, ‘Who’s saying what to him?’ And because of the fact that they didn’t view him as a difference maker, they probably wouldn’t want the distractions. And I guess that’s my point in the whole thing. If we substitute Jonathan Martin for Michael Sam and have the same quotes and the same comments, nobody’s gonna replay those quotes two months and three months later, and try to say that there’s any more to it than what was actually said.”
Patrick also asked Dungy on the comparison some have made to the distractions created by Sam and the distractions caused by signing Michael Vick after he spent time in prison for dogfighting. Dungy worked with Vick after his release from prison.
More from ProFootballTalk's transcription:
“People have to make their own decisions, and a lot of people made decisions that they didn’t want to accept that,” Dungy said regarding Vick. “And if Philadelphia said that same thing to Michael, I don’t think he could be mad, I couldn’t be mad. That’s a decision that they make for their team, and I’m sure they had discussions about it. And that was my only point, that those things are discussed. And people asked my personal opinion, and I gave the gentleman my opinion. But it wasn’t anything to attack Michael Sam or it wasn’t to come out the day before they report to camp and say he shouldn’t be there. I don’t believe that at all. I do believe he should be there, and I’m glad he is.”
- Sarah Barshop