What you should have said was nothing. Image: Getty Images
It hasn’t been a great week for NBC Sports football analyst Tony Dungy. He formed half of what is perhaps the most energy-efficient broadcast crew we’ve ever heard on Saturday nights (along with Al Michaels, and has been criticized for it ever since. Dungy was also toasted, and rightly so, by Cyd Zeigler at OutSports for his continued opposition to same-sex marriage Marriage. In the past, Dungy once called openly gay SEC Defensive Player of the Year Michael Sam “a distraction” (then tried to push it back) and has publicly aligned himself with anti-gay groups and organizations.
Dungy’s worldview apparently extends to the trans community as well. On Wednesday, Dungy shared a myth that litter boxes were being placed in schools for children who identify as furries, a brain-dead rumor debunked months ago after it was circulated as right-wing propaganda to mock children posing as something identify other than the sex assigned to them at birth. And Dungy fell for it, hook, line and plumb line.
Dungy responded to this tweet from the Daily Wire, a conservative news outlet.
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Almost as damning as the tweet is that Tony Dungy attempted to engage in dialogue with the Daily Wire. If you’ve never heard of the Daily Wire, our heartiest congratulations. All you really need to know is that the site was founded in part by Ben Shapiro, calling Jordan Peterson “the most important public intellectual of our time.” So.
Dungy’s story under scrutiny
When you first hear about Dungy being called out for alleged homophobia, Ziegler does a good job listing all the instances when he shouldn’t have said (or done) anything:
Public debate about Dungy’s anti-gay leanings began in earnest in 2006.
That year, Dungy headlined a fundraiser for the Indiana Family Institute, whose primary goal was to oppose same-sex marriage. The event invitation included a picture of Dungy coaching an NFL game in his Colts gear, with assurances that “an Indiana Family Institute financial support opportunity” would be available.
“I appreciate the attitude [IFI is] I take that stance, and I take that stance,” Dungy said during the IFI fundraiser about the group’s opposition to same-sex marriage. “IFI says what the Lord says. You can take that and make your decision about how you want to be. I am on the side of the Lord.”
When NBA player Jason Collins publicly came out as gay in 2013, Dungy said he “didn’t approve of Jason Collins’ lifestyle.”
The following year, after Michael Sam publicly came out as gay and was drafted by the St. Louis Rams, Dungy said he didn’t want Sam on his team.
“I wouldn’t have taken him,” Dungy said of the Rams’ recruitment of Sam. And wait for it… “I wouldn’t want to deal with any of that. It’s not going to be smooth… things are going to happen.”
Dungy deleted the tweet, presumably after seeing the backlash it drew, but the internet never forgets.
It’s also worth noting that NBC Sports has yet to comment on Dungy’s behavior.