Short-attention-span reading and writing ...

Tony Dungy meant what he said and said what probably 90 percent of football coaches are thinking.

Basically: They don't need or want to deal with Michael Sam-sized distractions from a Michael Sam-level talent.

That's the heart of what Dungy said to a Tampa newspaper about Sam, and then clarified with similar but softer language on Tuesday.

Dungy said he wishes Sam well and has no prejudice against him, but said that he probably wouldn't have drafted Sam.

In the football universe, Sam is a lowly seventh-round draft choice in the St. Louis Rams' training camp, whose presence is out of context because he's the first openly gay player to be drafted.

Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, Friday, Jan. 19, 2007. The Colts face the New England
Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy responds to a question during a news conference in Indianapolis, Friday, Jan. 19, 2007. The Colts face the New England Patriots in Sunday's AFC Championship football game. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings) (Darron Cummings)

And emphasize the "lowly seventh-round pick" part, because that is the most important part for a large majority of coaches and executives.

  • Dungy is vulnerable on this issue because he spoke so compassionately about second chances when Michael Vick finished his jail term after his dogfighting conviction.

    Vick committed felonies, did time and his signing with Philadelphia caused a huge stir; but he was a star.

    Would Dungy have offered all that support if Vick was openly gay, instead of a convicted felon?

    That's impossible to answer, probably even for Dungy, whose strong religious convictions are admirable but also presumably a part of his thinking on Sam.


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  • Then-Warriors coach Mark Jackson went partially down the same road when he was asked about Jason Collins' announcement in 2013.

    Jackson talked about his religious convictions and vaguely alluded to the moral difference between right and wrong, but said that he knew Collins and wished him well.

    Jackson also added, with a smile, that he'd be fine with adding Collins "if he had game."

  • And there it is: Pro sports aren't so much about morality -- or free speech -- as they are about sliding scales of raw value.

    ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JULY 19-20 - FILE - In this May 16, 2014, file phot, St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick Michael Sam takes part in a
    ADVANCE FOR WEEKEND EDITIONS, JULY 19-20 - FILE - In this May 16, 2014, file phot, St. Louis Rams seventh-round draft pick Michael Sam takes part in a drill during the team's NFL football rookie camp in St. Louis. Whether or not Sam makes the Rams final roster, becoming the first openly gay player in the NFL, will remain a hot topic throughout the preseason. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) ( Jeff Roberson )

    Aldon Smith is given great latitude by the 49ers because they need him rushing the quarterback as often as possible.

    Sam was passed by 31 teams -- and only drafted by Jeff Fisher's Rams in the final round -- because his talent is not perceived to merit the accompanying media and public appetite about him.

    That's not the way the NFL would like to publicize all this, of course.

    Dungy did a disservice to the NFL's vision of tolerance and to Sam himself; Dungy created this distraction and now can point to the uproar as a reason to be wary of Sam.

    That's a really queasy development, if you care about every player getting a fair shot and about NFL analysts holding themselves just as accountable as they hold seventh-round draft choices.

  • That was a nice 25-year reunion of the 1989 A's -- one of the most talented, charismatic and memorable teams of any era.

    But one stat got me thinking: The 1989 A's won 99 regular-season games and had a plus-136 run-differential (712 runs scored, 576 runs allowed).

    And ... before Tuesday night's action, the current A's were on pace to win 101 games and they had a plus-150 run-differential (485 runs scored, 335 runs allowed).

    Is this a once-in-a-generation team, too?

  • The $77 million payroll A's have so many starters that Tommy Milone has to stew in Triple-A, and, according to Fox, ask for a trade.

    Meanwhile, the $148 million payroll Giants are in a mad scramble now that Matt Cain is back on the disabled list.

    That's not a knock on the Giants; they went for it in 2011 and it cost them Zack Wheeler; they locked up Cain in 2012 because they always reward their stars.

    Now the Giants are in a tight spot -- they're short on talent but can't add much money into 2015 because they've got so many long-term deals, and they don't have much in the farm system to acquire new talent.

    General manager Brian Sabean has just one possible route: Add fraying veteran players on short-term deals who might revive their careers with a change of scenery.

    He has done it before. He will need to do it again in the coming weeks. Probably more than one time.

  • Imagine my surprise when the A's (who have no other options) and the Oakland politicians (who have no leverage) finally agreed to a 10-year Coliseum lease extension on Tuesday.

    Threats and rushed deadlines are just silly when there was no other result possible.

    Interestingly, with the necessary opt-outs involved, I'm told that this boils down to a true three-year deal.

    The Raiders and the developer will need at least that long to finalize a Coliseum City deal (if they ever do) that could push the A's out, and the A's get three years to figure out their next step.

    If they have one. Hey, does anybody here have a next step?

    Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.