Over the past few days, most of the comments from owners, coaches, and/or General Managers regarding Michael Sam have emerged in the form of a prepared statement. Falcons G.M. Thomas Dimitroff opted for a different approach — he answered a series of questions from Jeff Schulz of the Atlanta Jounal-Constitution.
“We recognize and appreciate the courage that Michael Sam demonstrated with his recent announcement,” Dimitroff said, adding that Sam’s sexuality “will have no bearing on how we evaluate him as a football player. If we deem Michael Sam as being an ideal fit for us as a football player and . . . having upside to play in this league, we would consider the acquisition. But that’s what I would say about any playerin this year’s draft.”
As Schulz points out, the Falcons coaching staff worked directly with Sam at this year’s Senior Bowl.
“I firmly believe it’s about the skill set and the natural ability of the football player,” Dimitroff said. “If that player will make our team better, and this is what I truly believe is true in the NFL, we’ll move forward and make the selection.”
Dimitroff said the Falcons don’t focus on player’s sexuality, and that he doesn’t believe the topic to be a potential distraction.
“There’s such a wide range of opinion about what a distraction is in the NFL,” Dimitroff said. “It varies from one team to another.”
Dimitroff made it clear that he won’t try to determine what kind of a distraction, if any, it would be to have Sam on the team. Dimitroff won’t ask any of the team’s current players about their feelings on the issue.
“No one knows the impact in a locker room for any acquisition until he’s in the locker room and interacting with our team,” Dimitroff said. “It doesn’t matter who that acquisition is. Period.”
So far, Dimitroff has indeed treated Sam like any other prospect. Dimitroff isn’t going to say anything that would reveal his actual intentions for the draft, which won’t be known until the various times the Falcons are on the clock.