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Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Tony Dungy: Gay marriage, football 'have nothing to do with each other'

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

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On Monday a quote from Tony Dungy about not wanting to draft Rams rookie Michael Sam -- the first openly gay player in the NFL -- sent the sports world spinning on its side; Dungy said he wouldn't want to deal with the "distraction." The former Colts and Buccaneers coach issued a statement Tuesday to clarify what he intended in the interview, which he said was from a few months ago.

Wednesday he did some more talking, appearing on the Dan Patrick Show to discuss what happened with the original interview and the ensuing fracas and made the point that his beliefs about gay marriage and his beliefs about constructing a football team aren't related.

"Well, gay marriage and who should be on a football team have nothing to do with each other," Dungy said. "[Indy Star columnist] Bob Kravitz knows the type of locker room we had. Not everybody on that team was a Christian. Not everybody believed what I did. Not everybody had the same views. To equate this to gay marriage to me, is really silly."

Dungy reiterated from his original statement he wouldn't have a problem coaching Sam, although he doesn't intend to "back down from" his Christian belief system.

"I know people will try to make this about my Christian faith. That's not something I'm going to back down from," Dungy said. "But when you go into coaching, you have the responsibility to deliver a good football team to your owner. I've said this many times — I wouldn't have a problem coaching him. I wouldn't have a problem with him being on the team."

In fact, Dungy oddly referred to cutting someone who is more talented based on their anti-Christian beliefs as ... "a sin."

"They can read in whatever they want but I think you make decisions as a football coach to bring the best team to your owner and your fans," Dungy said. "As a Christian I think that's my responsibility and if I did anything less that would be wrong and that would be a sin. To keep someone who was a Christian who wasn't as good or help the team as much … that would be wrong and I've never done that."

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