The Dungy Dilemma

Tony Dungy Super Bowl winnerTony Dungy had been one of the most untouchable men in all of sports.  Former head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Super Bowl winning coach of the Indianapolis Colts, the first African-American male ever to do so, Dungy has long been one of the most admired and respected men in the game.

I’m not sure any of that has changed in the past few days but let’s just say his name has been in the news lately.  Furthermore, some of his values have come into question.

In a recent interview with the Tampa Tribune, Dungy was asked whether he would draft Michael Sam, the NFL’s first openly homosexual football player.

This is what Dungy said…

“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.”

Of course you and I weren’t in the room while these questions we asked.  They may have been taken out of context.

After the backlash of said comments, Dungy backtracked in a follow-up interview.

“What I was asked about was my philosophy of drafting, a philosophy that was developed over the years, which was to minimize distractions for my teams.  I do not believe Michael’s sexual orientation will be a distraction to his teammates or his organization. I do, however, believe that the media attention that comes with it will be a distraction. Unfortunately we are all seeing this play out now, and I feel badly that my remarks played a role in the distraction.”

Can someone please get Coach Dungy a shovel?

Since his comments went public, every sports analyst has sounded off on the man whose judgment we never questioned… until now.

VickWhen Dungy backed Michael Vick’s return to the league, we all did a double take.  How could Dungy suggest Vick deserved another chance after the crimes he had committed?  Coach Dungy must be one forgiving soul.  Dungy’s conviction was so strong that he convinced almost all of us Vick deserved a second chance.

Certainly Vick’s reinstatement would serve as a “distraction” but why not allow it.  To err is human, to forgive divine.

The fact that Dungy backed the Vick-straction but not that of Sam could be, in some circles, misconstrued as Sam being less deserving without having committed a crime, depending on who you ask.

Tony Dungy is a god-fearing man.  He is a deeply religious man who is entitled to his opinions yet who also must understand that his opinions resonate.

I’m not here to get on a soapbox.  I’m just trying to make sense of it all.  I’m not suggesting Dungy was either right or wrong.  I am saying he was a little hypocritical.  If Dungy would give Vick a second chance or Tim Tebow a chance because he was a good (bible-thumping) locker room guy, why would he not draft Sam?  Both Vick and Tebow were clearly distractions.  How could a leader of Dungy’s magnitude not be able to deflect any negativity from Sam’s selection?  Clearly, introducing a new minority into the locker room brings with it the potential to teach acceptance of the differences in others, whether they are religious, socio-economic, racial or of sexual orientation.  I’m pretty sure Michael Sam doesn’t want to know what goes on in Tony Dungy’s bedroom.  Why should Dungy be in Sam’s?

Michael Sam RamsSam has since shrewdly responded “Thank God he wasn’t the St. Louis Rams coach.”  Sam 1, Dungy 0.  The Rams organization has also openly stated that Sam’s presence is not a distraction.

Tony Dungy will survive his latest comments.  They weren’t offensive, they weren’t overly controversial.  They were merely honest and we can’t fault him for that.  He’s obviously not the only one who feels that way.  Otherwise we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

His comments do, however, indicate that based on his own personal and religious beliefs, Dungy might not be as forgiving a soul as we all thought.

On one otherwise forgettable night on the set of TNT’s inside the NBA, Charles Barkley shared his thoughts on tolerance.  They came right after NBA player Jason Collins announced that he too was homosexual.  Barkley said his mother had always taught him that, as they were a minority who had struggled for equal rights in this country, it was inherently wrong to persecute against others.

Perhaps Coach Dungy should drop Chuck’s mom a line.

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44 Replies to “The Dungy Dilemma”

  1. Pingback: Wild Thing Fantasy Football » The Dungy Dilemma

  2. Sigh…this is precisely what is wrong in the world today. WAY TOO MANY people worrying about what other people say or even worse think, seriously. People, not just Dungy contradict themselves all of the time in conversations. Or have one stance that seems reasonable and another similar stance that goes against the first one. Why does anybody care? Seriously? Have you seen our worthless president step on his tongue from week to week? Let’s not forget that for almost 4 years he was against gay marriage until he was suddenly for it…right before re-elections. Yet his same voting block said nothing for years. People want to gripe at people who don’t think like them…plain and simple. And for the record I don’t vote for either Republicans (Useless) or Democrats (Worthless). Actually I sit back and watch everybody else destroy the country and I vote 3rd party EVERY election.

    I am not religious…think it is crazy honestly. That said I have been around religious people my whole life. I am the black sheep of the family in this regards. They believe what they want to believe and NO AMOUNT of persuading is going to change their minds. I honestly can’t believe we live in an era of the thought police…pathetic! Michael Sam playing for your team is a HUGE distraction. That is the truth of the matter. Some people might not like the truth but it exists.

    I have met and ate breakfast with Tony Dungy, personally. We don’t agree on religion…at all. That said he was one of the nicest people I have ever met. Whatever he thinks or says…he is still a nice person. You don’t have to like everybody. I really wish that people would stop taking something so innocuous and turning it into the end all be all…getting old.

  3. Was it at a Waffle House, D?

    ‘Cause that would be a cool story.

    The morning Tony Dungy and I talked religion and homosexuality at a Waffle House.

    Clearly someone was going to get nabbed saying “the wrong thing” when it comes to the Michael Sam selection. This time around it just happened to be Coach Dungy.

    Right about now, I’m guessing he’s probably not all that happy with the Trib reporter who put out that piece.

  4. It was actually at the team breakfast before they played the Carolina Panthers many years ago…Hotel in downtown Tampa. I sat with him, Mike Shula, My step father and the TE coach (can’t remember his name). Spent about an hour just talking to the table.

    Waffle house is awesome btw…covered and chunked for the record.

    That is just it…why does somebody have to get it over Michael Sam? As long as they are not saying derogatory things or threatening violence…who cares?

  5. I guess we have to trust that those in the Rams locker room and the coaches who monitor those situations will ensure a healthy environment.

    We have to trust that his teammates, assuming he makes the team, will accept him as their brother.

    And that hopefully they don’t go to the same church as Dungy.

  6. Whoever he winds up playing for will have the responsibility of ensuring he is in a healthy work environment. I agree with you. He should also not have to deal with any slurs. That said if somebody says ” I don’t like gay people or believe in it “, that is their choice and I don’t see anything wrong with it honestly. That isn’t a slur. Nor should they be pressed under the thumb of society. I am for gay rights myself but I don’t try to change people or how they think…not my place.

    Just think we have people worrying about the wrong stuff.

  7. ESPN, Fox Sports, Fox News, CNN etc… yeah they make matters worse. I wasn’t really upset with you writing an article. Unfortunately your reach as of now pales to those other behemoths. I have a problem when Chris Berman or John Clayton bump their gums for days about stuff like this and never let it go like they are doing some sort of humanitarian work. When in reality they are just driving a wedge further between people with a different belief system.

  8. Tony Dungy is an @ss and the league itself remains a joke . Dungy is living in the ” dark ages ” and it is unlikely to change .

    The NFL is being ran by a bunch of ignorant @ssholes whose only concern remains money .

    Goodell has proven as such with his lack of understanding and their being no real severity in punishing Ray Rice . The NFL has a total lack of respect and disregard for female fans in general .

  9. Warren Sapp truly appreciates the support shown him by Tony Dungy as he battered his wife (now his ex-wife) repeatedly on two separate occasions . Yet Dunyg’s dumb @ss was quick to jump up and come to the aid of Michael Vick ? What the ##ck was that about ?

  10. There was no support by Dungy for Sapp but yet the ex coach talks about the league’s image being harmed and that of the teams themselves . I guess Sapp’s actions weren’t doing any real harm to the image of the Buccaneers at the time ? Go figure .

  11. I guess Dungy really had nothing to say about the behavior of Warren Sapp while he coached the Buccaneers and the player was taking to abusing his now ex-wife ?

  12. Heavy D, Props for speaking it like it should be. I agree emphatically on your point that we’re ALL allowed to be humans, no one needs to be 100% right or wrong nor is that even possible. Big Media repeatably demonstrates that they have an ax to grind in building people up just to knock them down two days later.

    Tony Dungy is allowed his own opinions. As is Charles Barkley. The viewer has ample choice of other channels to watch or media to read where they are not being forced to pay attention to either man. But how can a rational person ignore Barkley? The round mound of rebound says it like he sees it which is all anyone could ask IMO.

    Both have been deemed ‘public persons’ and so the media hound them trying to get them to say something politically incorrect so that they can sell more papers or gain greater ad revenue. And like so many lemmings we flock towards any topic called controversy so they in turn continue to generate controversy. Yawn.

    Chump, is that why you covered this topic in your thread?

  13. Mine was just a take, D, and ironically, this whole thing is “news” despite nothing actually happening. Nobody really “did” anything.

    I do have friends, however, that are entirely unforgiving of homosexuality and it stems primarily from their religious beliefs.

    Dungy’s comments reminded me of that.

    And let’s not forget what Chris Broussard said about Jason Collins.

    I just found it all interesting that a guy, Dungy, whose words we all praised as gospel disapproved of Sam’s “lifestyle.” Or at least so it seemed.

  14. While it may think it is, Al, the league is not untouchable.

    Of course, we’re uneducated fans and our only concerns are the games themselves. And the league recognizes that.

    We’ll have forgotten about Rice the minute the games start up as we continue to spend hundreds supporting a league that may or may not have our best interests at heart.

  15. One more reason why ESPN is a borderline case of sheer ignorance . Stephen A Smith provided the evidence of his bigotry when it concerns women by stating they are constantly the cause of incidents of spousal abuse . I guess Smith’s mother would have deserved to have the #hit beaten out of her, by her husband or partner , were there an argument ?

    The NBA and NFL carry on as if they are untouchable . Did you hear the idiotic explanation being given concerning Ray Rice’s behavior ? How can the (NFL) league feel they can justify their punishment of the player in such an instance ? Bear in mind also they have legions of female fans across the country . Goodell , the players , the union and the owners simply do not get it and why should we expect them to when their only concern remains money without the apathy of the fans being thrown in for good measure . How many times have we read of stories where male athletes are beating up on their female partners ? And it is not as if the law gives these victims any real recourse . Consider how lax the NCAA remains about campus rapes and high profiled athletes given a pass by either the colleges or through the inept police investigation of the crime . Jameis Winston still remains a person of interest in an alleged assault which his legal counsel first suggest was a lie only to then state the sex was consensual . Which is it ?

    tophatal ………………………………

  16. Chris,
    This country with the 24 hour sports media going is turning us into gossipping old women. Tony Dungy is an easy target to fire at. Why not go after DeVos Sr. and the other loosely vetted hierarchy? Dungy has suffered enough personal grief. Give him a chance to clean up his mess and move.
    Btw, what does Chris Berman have on ESPN management? Stale act that has run its course. There must be a job opening on MSNBC.

  17. Al…

    Stephen A.’s comments were reminiscent of Bobby Knight’s when he suggested that if a woman were getting raped, she might as well just sit back and enjoy it. Classy stuff, huh?

    Rays did well, finally lost to the Sox today but they’ve made up some impressive ground over these last few games. Still a large climb ahead of them, however.

    I’m not all that surprised about the guys that got in to the Hall, Al. No allegations of steroids against any of them… except of course LaRussa who turned a blind eye in his clubhouse. For that, I think they probably could have waited a year or so.

  18. La Russa was blinded by his own ignorance and stupidity.

    Stephen A Smith is a frigging douche and it took a female employee (Michelle Beadle) at ESPN to show how ###king how out of touch the network remains . They have yet to reprimand Smith for his stupidity . Not at all surprising, given the lack of credibility they continue to have . As to Bobby Knight what the hell did anyone expect of a man , who has continually disrespected women over the course of his professional career ? The press and anal retentive fans will continue to give these idiots a pass and then look to move on. forgetting about common decency altogether .

  19. Oh, the world today. 1) He shouldn’t have said it in the way he did, or even approached it. 2) I knew what he was getting at right when he said it.

    We may have the technology today, but everything else is so sensitive that you are walking on egg shells all the time.

  20. La Russa like Mark McGwire doesn’t want to talk about the past , but merely talk about the present , the future of children and all of the kind work he and wife do in conjunction with PETA concerning stray animals . What more can I say ? LOL,LOL,LOL !!!

    What’s up with Chris Archer ? So Big Papi clubs one out of the ballpark off him and all of a sudden he’s miffed because he feels the Red Sox player has in some way disrespected him ? Meanwhile , Archer in his comeback , state he’s never seen Hank Aaron ever disrespect anyone in such a way . Wouldn’t Archer be better off not hanging one over the plate for Ortiz to smack the hell out of ? Or is this the IQ one ought to now expect of a Rays’ pitcher in general ?

  21. Chris , Anything , Stephen A now has to say concerning his original remark is far too late . The guy has always been a pompous @sshole , with the IQ of a gnat . ESPN for their part , seem to have accepted his idiotic apology which to my mind condones what they have actually continue to allow at their headquarters in Bristol Connecticut . Harold Baines (fired for sexual harassment of an intern at the network) must be thinking that he was harshly treated by the network after his behavior . So explain to me how you view that whole situation and Smith’s remarks in general ? I guess most women should not feel aggrieved by that or will the anal retentive out there merely let this also pass by as well ?

  22. Knee jerk…no surprise.
    I’m with Heavy D & Capt tree on this one.

    He was asked if he’d draft him, not if he approved of who he mixes it up with in the bedroom. It was a response based solely on how he felt it could impact the team. Risk vs reward. Dungy’s take was that Sam’s talent wasn’t worth the risk.

    If Andrew Luck was gay, it would be worth the risk. Simple as that IMO.

  23. What’s worse, KP, is that the journalists that break these types of stories are being commended and probably receiving raises/promotions for being the ones who get someone famous to say something inflammatory.

  24. What does Archer know about Hank Aaron, Al? The kid probably wasn’t even alive when Aaron had his last at-bat.

    Personally, I thought Archer was out of line on his Ortiz comments. I know there’s bad blood between these teams but to ask who Big Papi is to do that? How about the guy has three World Series rings and who has become the most beloved sports figure in Boston since Larry Bird. When Archer gets anywhere close to that, then perhaps he can talk shit.

    With regards to his comments on the Ray Rice case, I don’t know that a week will do but at least the network had enough sense to suspend Stephen A. for openly suggesting something so stupid.

  25. I’d never out anyone. I could care less what consenting adults do in the privacy of their bedrooms…as long as no one is forced to do something against their will.

    Now Stephen A. Smith is suspended for his comments regarding Ray Rice’s situation?


    As if something someone says can’t provoke an attack…female or otherwise. Look, I’m all for freedom of speech, but there can sometimes be repercussions, physical or otherwise. Ask John Rocker, Al Campanis or Donald Sterling.

    I’m against violence against women, but if we just give them carte blanche to say whatever they want without repercussions then we’re in deep shit as a society.

    Men know the rules. We know there’s a line you don’t cross with other men or there WILL be a scrap…For women, that line has alot more leeway, but it does exist.

  26. Fine. Yes, I would.

    …But not for Kobe’s 6th.
    For the Lakers 17th.

    For me, it’s about the name on the front of the jersey.

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