John Amaechi: Coach’s comments about Michael Sam are a ‘calculated’ stunt
Retired basketball star John Amaechi has claimed that Tony Dungy’s comments about Michael Sam were just to “keep himself in the news”.
Dungy, who was the first African-American person to coach a team to victory in the Superbowl, said earlier this week: “I wouldn’t have taken him… I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.”
The coach previously mentored player Michael Vick following his release from prison, after he was convicted of dog fighting.
Amaechi, who came out as gay in 2007, told The Dan LeBetard show: “This Dungy thing is not surprising.
“He’s going to have this weird line, apparently just to keep himself in the news. People who still think being gay is interesting are just so nineteenth century at this point. It’s not a factor.
“I don’t think they were benign comments. I think they were calculated to be easily walked back, which is exactly what he’s done now. He’s unsaid all of the things that he said, even though those things were apparently not offensive in the first place.
“If you’re interested in getting the very best out of your team, then what you want is for every single person on that team to be able to be free to be themselves.
“People are always talking about freedom of speech, but it’s not freedom from rebuke. When people say stupid things, they should be rebuked. And the fact is that his opinion about gay people is formed by a Bronze Age book.
“I don’t know anybody else who lives by a Bronze Age book in other contexts of their life. Because, if they did, they’d find driving really uncomfortable on their stone wheels.
“Flintstones is where we’d be. Come on. It’s so childish, almost. If you’re a coach — an elite coach — and you seriously say you wouldn’t take the very best player because you think it’s a distraction, then you’re not an elite coach. You’re just playing.”