During a tense debate on “First Take” Tuesday morning, ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith defended former NFL coach Tony Dungy for saying he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam because of the distraction his gay lifestyle could cause for his team.
Smith’s blunt comments about Dungy and Sam riled up his fellow commentator Skip Bayless, who said he was “shocked” at Smith’s take.
“Number one, I’m really disgusted at all the hoopla and the noise that has been made because of Tony Dungy’s comments. I don’t find them remotely controversial — I want to be very, very clear about that… Get over it!” Smith began.
“Whether it’s a religious perspective, or taking his quote verbatim, [Dungy] happens to be right!” he continued. “Somebody going to jail for a dogfighting scandal, serving his time in a prison, and then being in an NFL locker room, is not necessarily something that will cause a distraction in the eyes of players, compared to somebody that is gay in a locker room. We don’t like to say that, but it’s just the truth!”
Smith said his personal views are “live and let live” and argued he is a “proponent of most of the causes the gay community has fought for.”
“I think that it’s wrong how they’ve been prejudiced against. But having said all that, I think it’s important to recognize that that doesn’t mean people have a right to be comfortable with you,” he concluded.
After looking down and letting out a sigh, Bayless told Smith, “I’m shocked that you don’t see the problem here. I’m, truly utterly shocked.”
“I want to be clear, I share Tony Dungy’s spiritual views, but I found his small comment that he made yesterday highly controversial, highly hypocritical and, I must say, highly offensive,” Bayless said.
Watch the segment via ESPN here: