When current New York Jets backup QB Michael Vick was attempting his comeback to the National Football League after spending twenty-one months in jail, it was Tony Dungy who mentored the humbled superstar and aided him with his reintegration into the league after serving time for the horrific dog-mauling case that led to his incarceration.

Tony Dungy has written books and given countless speeches on his achievements as both a player and a coach in the NFL.  He stars in a series of DVDs entitled “Dare To Be Uncommon” where he “instructs participants on the importance of character in attaining success on and off the field”.  He overcame his own share of obstacles to become the first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl, and has been lauded as a man of impeccable character.

A man guided by his faith, and one who has been the measure of the NFL’s moral compass even before his retirement in January 2009, has weighed in on St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick, and former Missouri standout Michael Sam (the first openly-gay player to be drafted by an NFL franchise).

“I wouldn’t have taken him,” Tony Dungy told the Tampa Bay Tribune.  “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”.

As a man who spent many years in locker rooms, I can agree with Coach Dungy’s statement.  I can see where he’s coming from.  It’s football… things DO happen.  For things NOT to happen, the Rams need leaders on both the coaching staff AND in the locker room.  I wanted to know where this sentiment was when Coach Dungy was helping Michael Vick reestablish himself?  I wonder… how did Coach Dungy think then coach Andy Reid felt about things?  Coach Reid had a situation in his personal life to deal with (his son had his own highly-publicized legal issues), and didn’t need “all of it” around his football team on a daily basis.

Coach Dungy has every right to feel how he does, and with his years of experience, he would have a better idea as to what would be a distraction to an NFL franchise than I.  I just don’t think that someone who preaches for those with the ability to stand and lead, to do so one-minute, and for him to seemingly discourage a franchise in the Rams, and a player in Michael Sam, from being leaders themselves.  The Rams drafted a football player, a gay football player, and yes Coach Dungy… the “all of it” that comes with it.   

 

-Joseph Haas, HaasStyleInterpretations.com

Join the conversation on Twitter @JerseyHaas or send me an e-mail JosephHaasNFL@Gmail.com. You can also find me covering the New York Jets at HCoftheNYJ.com and Saturdays on the Green & White Show.