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Tony Dungy Clarifies Michael Sam Remark

Lucy Nicholson/REUTERS

Colts head coach Tony Dungy takes the field before their AFC Wild Card Round NFL playoff football game against the San Diego Chargers in San Diego, January 3, 2009. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)

Former NFL coach Tony Dungy released a statement Tuesday clarifying why he would refuse to draft Michael Sam, the first openly gay player in the league. On Monday, the Tampa Bay Tribune published an article in which Dungy explained he wouldn’t have wanted Sam on his team. “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,” said Dungy. “It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’ On Tuesday, Dungy released a statement in response saying, “I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does.” He added, “I wish Michael Sam nothing but the best in his quest to become a star in the NFL and I am confident he will get the opportunity to show what he can do on the field.” However, he did stand by his comments that Sam’s presence could bring unwanted media focus. “I believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction.”