Tony Dungy's comments about NOT wanting to draft Michael Sam because he's gay are MISGUIDED ... so says fellow NBC employee Sam Champion who says it would be a "shame" to pass on a capable player because of his sexual orientation.
As we previously reported, Dungy told a reporter he would pass on drafting Sam because he wouldn't want to "deal with" the gay factor ... even though he thinks Sam is talented enough to play in the league.
Sam -- a superstar weatherman at NBC (where Dungy serves as an NFL analyst) who's also openly gay -- tells TMZ Sports, "With all due respect to this great former coach, you don't have to deal with any of it, much less all of it."
"As a coach, you should have one policy for your players and who they are dating -- and that is to leave it off the field."
Sam continued, "The only consideration you should have is what their abilities are on the field. What a shame if you didn't take a player you knew could play and play him."