“I wouldn’t have taken him. Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it. …It’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.’’ – Tony Dungy
Let me start by saying I know where Tony Dungy is coming from. I know because I used to run in the same circles he runs in. I worshiped and congregated in the same churches, listening to the same preachers, fellow-shipped with the same men who attended Promise Keepers when it was in town. Dungy, an author of 7 faith based books including one on marriage has never been shy about promoting his brand of Christian faith. He raised money for the Indiana Family Institute to ban same sex marriage. A champion for ‘conservative values’ he’s parlayed his image to be the NFL’s edition of Billy Graham meets Cliff Huxtable.
Dungy displayed his Huxtable mentoring talents with Michael Vick. After Vick was released from federal prison for the abuse and killing of dogs, he tutored Vick to become the calm voice in the Philadelphia Eagles locker room, and a protege to other potentially troubled NFL players. On NBC’s Sunday Night NFL Football show, Dungy is the most vanilla/least polarizing of any football analyst. That it until yesterday’s quote from the Tampa Bay Tribune.
Dungy is living a double life, trapped between two conflicting worlds. His Christian values teaches him that being gay is a sin. He hears on any given Sunday that there is a ‘gay agenda’ promoted by Satan himself to subject god-fearing men to accept an abomination. He’s also made a life playing, coaching, and now commentating in a brutal sport that destroys the body and cause brain damage. Players in the NFL are generally not saints, but sinners. They are young, brash, carnal, full of testosterone, trained killers who even if only briefly hold the world by their finger tips. Generally, they live promiscuously and their idea of fun is making it rain in strip clubs.
How does Dungy navigate these two worlds? It’s not hard. His ‘values’ are not in peril because most of his Christian brethren love football. They love the position he’s in. They love to rub shoulders with NFL royalty. And most of all, his presence on television brings credibility to their beliefs. Which is why they don’t have a problem with his comments about Michael Sam. Sam is gay. As for what the straight players do and the lifestyles they live, it’s accepted par for the course. Dungy and his sycophants don’t see promiscuity, materialism and making it rain as a ‘distraction’ to be dealt with. Heck, if they weeded out the colonies from the strongest and fastest to the most chaste, the NFL would cease to exist. Make no mistake, these Christians want their football.
Some people are calling for Dungy to clarity or make some additional statement so as to not come off as bigoted against gay people. Sam is at least for now a member of the NFL’s family. While he’s certainly not the only gay player, he is the only publicly acknowledged one. Dungy, just the fourth black head coach in the NFL’s modern era post Fritz Pollard already had the path paved and smoothed for him. His Super Bowl victory makes him teflon. His clean cut image made it so that he didn’t need to touch the Sam situation. But he just couldn’t help himself. His Christian Agenda pricked him which prompted a statement for the boys in the congregation. Veiled in the theme of ‘distraction’, he poked at Sam’s career potential saying he wouldn’t ‘want to deal with’ the baggage. That same baggage that Branch Ricky dealt with for the media, social and player side show endured by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. There are no sermons for womanizing, smoking weed and making it rain. But the anti-gay message is weekly.
No, I don’t want Dungy to clarify a word. If anything, he should keep it all the way 100 and own hypocrite that he and his Christian brethren are; instead of this passive aggressive ‘not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play’ BS.
Yea… Dungy wants Sam to have a chance…. just not on HIS team.