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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 25 2014 - Volume 42 Issue 30
Rams coach: Michael Sam 'absolutely not' a distraction
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Rams coach: Michael Sam 'absolutely not' a distraction

by Shaun Knittel - SGN Associate Editor

National Football League (NFL) Rams head coach Jeff Fisher, during an appearance on ESPN's 'Mike & Mike' radio show on Wednesday, stated that openly Gay new Rams draft Michael Sam was 'absolutely not' a distraction for his football team.

'Let's define distraction,' Fisher added, via ESPN.com. 'There were a couple extra cameras during the early OTAs, there may have been an extra camera yesterday as the rookies reported and went on the field for the first time, but no, it's not.'

Fisher's comments were made in response to former NFL coach Tony Dungy who recently claimed that 'things will happen' when explaining why he would not have drafted Sam.

Dungy is the former head coach of the Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He is currently an NBC analyst. Michael Sam was the 2013 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year and came out as Gay in February. He was selected by the Rams at the 2014 NFL Draft.

Dungy drew attention to himself and Sam as the St. Louis Rams were preparing to get training camp underway for the upcoming season with comments to The Tampa Tribune.

'I wouldn't have taken him,' Dungy told Tampa Tribune reporter Ira Kaufman. '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,' Dungy also told the Tribune. 'Things will happen.'

The comments by Dungy (who also advocated for teams to give Michael Vick a second chance to return to the NFL after the quarterback served time in prison for his involvement in running a dog-fighting ring) appeared in an article published by The Tampa Tribune on Sunday. His comments sparked controversy and earned him the title of the 'World's Worst Person in Sports' on Keith Olbermann's ESPN2 program on Monday night.

Earlier on Monday, Sam and the other Rams' rookies reported to camp.

'Thank God he wasn't St. Louis Rams' coach,' Sam responded with a laugh on Tuesday, via NFL.com. 'But I have a great respect for Dungy, and everyone in America is entitled to their own opinions.'

Sam reportedly then cut off a follow-up question on the controversy, attempting to downplay the situation and keep the focus on football, said NFL.com.

'I don't really care what people are coming up and talking about,' Sam said. 'My job is to make this team, that's my number one priority.'

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