Why Are So Few Running Defense for Coach Dungy?
The first black coach to win a Super Bowl stumbles on an LGBTQ+ issue.
LGBTQ+ activists are blitzing the first black coach to win a Super Bowl, Anthony “Tony” Dungy, demanding the Hall of Famer be fired from NBC Sports for tweeting a myth about schools providing litterboxes for kids who identify as cats. Foes of the coach turned broadcaster, an outspoken Christian, are hitting the gap in his defensive line, with few defending his blind side.
Mr. Dungy fumbled by sharing a debunked story about so-called furries, humans who live as animals, which he used to mock a Minnesota bill mandating menstrual products be made available in all bathrooms. The coach deleted the remark and apologized twice: once for spreading misinformation and a second time to ensure it had been seen.
“I saw a tweet and I responded to it in the wrong way,” Mr. Dungy wrote. “As a Christian, I should speak in love and in ways that are caring and helpful. I failed to do that, and I am deeply sorry.” In the second tweet, he said he wanted “to be a force for love to everyone. A force for healing and reconciliation — not for animosity.”
NBC was already facing calls to fire Mr. Dungy from commentator Keith Olbermann and others after he mentioned the love for Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin, whose heart stopped after a blow to the chest on Monday Night Football, by saying a “famous athlete” and an unborn child are both “important to God in God’s eyes.” He said this a few days earlier at the March for Life.
Like many Americans, Mr. Dungy sees the Almighty’s hand in all things, and feels called to remain true to the world beyond the veil, not the world of man. His faith is central to who he is. Mr. Dungy’s faith, like that of the NHL’s Ivan Proverov, makes him a target. Self-appointed arbiters of what politics are correct preach tolerance, diversity, and inclusion but are unwilling to embrace those whose dissent — based on ancient texts — they can label as hate.
“NBC Sports does not support or condone the views expressed in the tweet,” a representative wrote in an email to NBC News, “and we have made that clear to Tony. Our company has long and proudly supported LGBTQ+ rights and works hard to ensure that all of our employees are seen, acknowledged, recognized, and respected.”
Mr. Dungy respects everybody, too. “You and I disagree about whether LGBTQ is a lifestyle,” he said in response to a tweet in 2020. “But that has nothing to do with how I ‘treat people.’” NBC Universal has agreed so far, but its news division saw fit to scour Mr. Dungy’s old tweets for anything outside the lines it sees fit to draw.
NBC News wrote of finding “at least a dozen tweets from Dungy’s account from 2012 to 2022 that are critical of same-sex marriage, homosexuality, and the LGBTQ ‘lifestyle.’” Starting in 2012 is noteworthy, as prior to that President Obama also supported traditional marriage.
That might still be the case, had President Biden, then Mr. Obama’s vice president, not come out in support of expanding the institution at that time, forcing his boss to tell ABC News that he’d changed his mind — something he’d never have had time to do had he been driven out of public life for his earlier stance.
Americans like Mr. Dungy are given no such opportunity to “evolve,” even if they wish to do so. Sports Illustrated’s blog, the Spun, presumed to declare him an outcast in a story headlined, “NFL World Wants Prominent Analyst To Be Fired,” though it cited only a single, unnamed fan.
Mr. Dungy dropped the ball by citing a hurtful and false story, but NBC Sports pays him for his gravitas as a coach, not his private beliefs. Those convictions may get him sacked from that job, but he has his eyes on a kingdom greater than the Wide World of Sports and where his worthiness will be judged by a power greater than that of Twitter.