Surely, you have heard/read by now about Tony Dungy’s remarks regarding the drafting of Michael Sam and the furor it seems to have caused. In short, Dungy said that Sam should have the opportunity to play in the NFL but that he (Dungy) would not have drafted him because he did not want the distractions that would come with Sam. In a “clarifying statement”, Dungy said he was referring to the distractions that would come from media focus on Sam as the first openly gay player in the NFL. And the Internet damned near exploded…
Allow me to venture into this minefield gently:
Michael Sam deserves the opportunity to demonstrate to the Rams (the team that drafted him) that he is capable of playing for the Rams.
The fact that Sam is gay will be an issue for some of his teammates and some of his coaches. That same fact will be irrelevant for other teammates and coaches.
The media will extend the life of this issue beyond its normal period of importance – let alone interest.
Tony Dungy is a man of faith – and his faith leads him to believe that gay marriage is wrong. The fact that he holds that view is no problem at all; in fact, even if he were to mount a political effort to make gay marriage illegal, that would be no problem. The only problem would come from any action he might take to discriminate against a person on the basis of gay marriage.
` The media always complains when athletes or coaches refuse to say anything that might be considered “edgy”; they decry the role of PR advisors and communications directors. In most cases, I agree with the media here. However, if the media is going to hop all over someone who answered a question directly – and presumably candidly – then why would any other athlete/coach ever do so in the future. The media is being a tad hypocritical here.
Look, Tony Dungy said he would not have drafted Michael Sam. Consider:
As of the end of the 6th round of the NFL Draft, all 32 NFL teams agreed with his assessment.
At the end of the draft, 31 of the teams still agreed with his assessment.
The time has come to turn the page in this saga. No longer is it important if a team should or will draft Michael Sam; he is in the Rams’ training camp trying to make the Rams’ team. It is no longer important to ask people outside the Rams’ organization what they did or might have done or might not have done during the NFL Draft in May; none of that amounts to a trace of turtle turds. There is only one question to ask now:
Can Michael Sam play football at the NFL level?
If so, the Rams got a steal in the 7th round; if not they wasted a low round draft pick.
Neither of those outcomes upsets the world order…
The Denver Broncos’ owner, Pat Bowlen, has relinquished his role in the organization because he has Alzheimer’s Syndrome. He is 70 years old and Joe Ellis will take over as President and CEO for the team. Just about everyone – players, coaches, reporters – praise Bowlen as a great owner and as a good person. He has owned the team since 1984 and the team only had 5 losing seasons during that time. Of course, having John Elway play QB for 14 of those 30 years helped to provide the team with a winning record.
Bonne chance, Pat Bowlen…
The former owner of the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens, Art Modell, does not enjoy the same level of positive reaction among Cleveland fans. Ignoring the reasons why he took the Browns out of Cleveland – reasons that would have led me to do the same thing were I in his position at the time – many Clevelanders have not been able to get past the fact that their team left town and nothing short of time travel is going to undo that fact. Today there was a report that a Cleveland Browns’ fan went to the Druid Ridge Cemetery where Modell is buried and filmed himself urinating next to Modell’s grave – and then posted that video on YouTube.
That is not the action of a “fan”; that is not the action of a rational person; this is someone who has a very unhealthy need to draw attention to himself. Yes, I know that I am practicing psychology without a license here – and doing it at a distance to boot since I have no idea who the perpetrator is –; nevertheless, this is not a person that I would want to be in a position to make decisions that were germane to my well-being.
NFL training camps are about to open. SportsPickle.com has an article where it lists the “key questions” for each team as it enters training camp. Here is the link to the list for the AFC teams; there are a few chuckles in the list. Here are two to whet your appetite:
Tennessee Titans: Can anyone name a player on the Titans?
Cleveland Browns: What if Johnny Manziel gets so drunk one night he hooks up with a guy, thereby becoming a potential locker room distraction?
The dreaded “distraction” rears its ugly head…
Finally, here is Dwight Perry of the Seattle Times anticipating this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremony:
“Ex-Giants defensive end Michael Strahan wants the trademark space between his front teeth evident on his Pro Football Hall of Fame bust.
“In other words, some unwitting sculptor is suddenly hard at work perfecting his one-gap technique.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………