Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Q Toon: The Eve of Distraction

Paul Berge
Q Syndicate
Jul 30, 2014
The Tampa Tribune recently quoted former NFL coach Tony Dungy as saying that he would not have drafted openly gay defensive lineman Michael Sam. "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."

Dungy had been less concerned about dealing with less than totally smooth things happening with Michael Vick's return to the NFL after he had served his sentence on dog fighting charges; ESPN describes Dungy as a "mentor" to the rehabilitated quarterback.

After facing some criticism for apparently worrying more about having a gay player on his hypothetical football team than a convicted felon (see Drew Litton's cartoon here), Dungy issued an apology, stating that he has always believed that Michael Sam deserves the same chance to play in the NFL as any straight dude.
"What I was asked about was my philosophy of drafting, a philosophy that was developed over the years, which was to minimize distractions for my teams.
"I do not believe Michael's sexual orientation will be a distraction to his teammates or his organization. I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction. Unfortunately we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction."
Later, Dungy appeared on the Dan Patrick Show, where he eventually said, "I would want to wish [Sam] the best and let him know I have no bitterness or animosity to 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."

For his part, Michael Sam has taken the high road, telling ESPN that he respects Dungy, and thinks Dungy is entitled to his opinion, but "Thank God he wasn't the St. Louis Rams coach."

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