Tony Dungy tried again today to explain his Michael Sam comments, this time on the The Dan Patrick Show, and it somehow became all about Jonathan Martin.
Dungy said he thinks his quote about he wouldn't take Sam because he "wouldn't want to deal with all of it" wouldn't have been as big a deal if it had been about Martin, who was so harassed and bullied by his Dolphins teammates that he abruptly left the team.
"I had the same kind of comments when we did the piece on Jonathan Martin and I talked to some general managers and they said that Jonathan definitely had the talent to play in the league, but would they want the distraction of everybody following the story and people asking their players over and over 'what's going on with Jonathan?'...And because of the fact that they didn't view him as a difference maker, they probably wouldn't want the distractions. "
Dungy's public comments on Jonathan Martin can be heard in the soft-focus, totally supportive interview he conducted with Martin for NBC Sports.
Dungy kept hammering at the Martin comparison.
"If we substitute Jonathan Martin in for Michael Sam and had the same quotes and same comments, no one is going to replay those quotes two months and three months later and try to make any more to it than what was actually said."
Dungy also addressed those who have called him hypocritical for criticizing Sam's distraction but doing PR for Michael Vick's return to football. He answered by saying, basically, yeah, maybe some teams might have thought Vick could be a distraction.
"Had Philadelphia said that same thing to Michael, I don't think he could be mad. I couldn't be mad. That's a decision they make for their team, and I'm sure they had discussions about it."
It is worth noting that Dungy publicly supported Vick's decision to do a BET reality show upon his return to football in 2009.
Near the end of today's interview, Dungy said he would "love" to talk to Sam, and here's what he would tell him:
"I would want to wish him 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."
Before this interview, it didn't sound like Sam was in any hurry to meet Dungy. We doubt this interview has done anything to change that.
[ For The Win]