Michael Sam practices during the first day of Rams’ training camp, a position he presumably wouldn’t be in if Tony Dungy were running St. Louis. (Huy Mach/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via Associated Press)

Former NFL coach (or should that say “formerly widely respected NFL coach”?) Tony Dungy is backtracking furiously from comments that he “wouldn’t have taken” Michael Sam in the NFL draft. It remains to be seen how the court of public opinion rules on Dungy’s attempt at spin control, but no take is likely to improve on that of the player in question.

Sam’s thoughts on the matter come to us via the Twitter account of Nick Wagoner, who covers the Rams for ESPN:

Perfect! A little touch of humor, and a lot of taking the high road. Just another example of how Sam continues to comport himself in a winning way.

It seems more than likely that Sam said “Thank God” in the colloquial sense people use all the time, one that could just as easily be replaced by “Thank goodness.” However, it only adds to score-this-one-for-Sam factor that, intentionally or not, he brought up the issue of Dungy’s religiosity.

The former coach, now an analyst for NBC Sports, is well-known for having a strong Christian viewpoint. In  2007, Dungy accepted a “Friend of the Family” award from the Indiana Family Institute, a conservative group opposed to same-sex marriage. Dungy told the audience at that ceremony, “We’re not trying to downgrade anyone else. But we’re trying to promote the family — family values the Lord’s way.”

Sam’s comment is a reminder that the Tony Dungys of the world don’t have a monopoly on interpreting God’s wishes.