TAMPA, Fla. — Derrick Brooks hasn’t spoken to Tony Dungy since his former coach’s comments about Michael Sam spread across the country Monday. Still, the former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker and soon-to-be Hall of Famer considers Dungy’s perspective understandable.
Brooks spoke about the issue Tuesday morning in a conference call, when asked about Dungy’s controversial comments about the NFL’s first openly gay player in a Tampa Tribune story published Sunday.
"I wouldn’t have taken him," Dungy told the newspaper about Sam, a defensive end from Missouri selected in the seventh round (249th overall) in May. "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 … things will happen."
Brooks, who starred for the Bucs from 1995-2008, was careful to say he hadn’t had a conversation with Dungy about the issue to learn its entire context. Still, Brooks said Dungy likely isn’t alone with the outlook.
"So many angles here to go with this," Brooks said. "But I just generally feel that he’s probably saying what 31 other teams were probably thinking in that regard, because they didn’t draft him for whatever reason, and he (Dungy) was just saying if he were a head coach, this is how he would have approached the situation or approached the player’s situation. Fairly or unfairly, I’m not in a position to judge that, because once again, I haven’t spoken to him to see or ask my own questions in terms of what was truly meant by it. But just reading the comments on the surface, I would just simply make that remark.’
Brooks will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 2 in Canton, Ohio.