Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy is backtracking from his earlier remarks about Michael Sam.
In an interview published in Monday's Tampa Bay Tribune, Dungy said he wouldn't have selected Sam, who became the first openly gay player to be picked in the NFL draft. The St. Louis Rams selected Sam in the seventh round of the NFL in May.
Dungy told the Tribune that he wouldn't want to deal with the distraction that he felt the media attention around Sam would create.
That prompted a flurry of negative response, including this lambasting from ESPN's Keith Olbermann. (Scroll ahead to the 2:00 mark.)
"I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL," Dungy said in a statement released to the Tribune on Tuesday. "He absolutely does."
"I wish Michael Sam nothing but the best in his quest to become a star in the NFL and I am confident he will get the opportunity to show what he can do on the field."