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Outsports' Asshole of the Year: Tony Dungy

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Tony Dungy continues to push gay athletes deeper into the closet and deny his motivation is homophobia. Vladimir Putin, our runner-up in the "Asshole" category, isn't any better.

There are two main reasons Tony Dungy is Outsports' Asshole of the Year.

The first is his very public homophobia. While it happened several years ago, Dungy spent part of his social capital in 2007 raising tens of thousands of dollars to fight against marriage equality in Indiana, saying that if you're with God you have to be against equality for gay people. Dungy was at it again this year publicly declaring that he wouldn't have wanted Michael Sam on his team.

That leads us to reason No. 2. Instead of just owning up to his anti-Sam homophobia, Dungy tried hiding behind the "distraction" nonsense and Oprah Winfrey's TV show in claiming he didn't want Sam on his team. What Dungy seems to forget is the Book of Proverbs' enumeration of abominations, several of which Dungy has committed by not owning up to his truthful homophobia: a lying tongue... a heart that devises wicked plans... a false witness who breathes out lies... and one who sows discord among brothers.

Dungy's lie was proven when he publicly said he would welcome Ray Rice onto his team. Wife-beater Rice would attract far more questions and media than Sam, yet Dungy would embrace him with open arms just as he did with dog-killer Michael Vick (who incidentally had a reality show following him too) when he was released from jail.

Wife-beater and dog-killer? No problem for Dungy. A man who loves other men? No way in hell!

That outward homophobia and clear disdain for gay people has led many to openly wonder whether Dungy's son, who killed himself in 2005 (may he rest in peace), was gay. It's the No. 1 question I get from people regarding Dungy. The latest round has brought that all bubbling back to the surface, even though there is no public evidence to that effect (of course, the homophobes at Breitbart call the questioning of someone's sexual orientation an "attack"). But you can certainly understand - with Dungy's open, public attacks on gay people - why any gay person around Dungy, family, athletes or otherwise, would feel uncomfortable around the man. His comments continue to tell young gay kids they don't belong in this world and will go to hell after it - and that is the saddest part of all. Whether it's his son or someone else, Christians like Dungy, who manipulate the word of God, drive kids to kill themselves.

It's shameful that NBC continues to give this man a platform from which he can push LGBT athletes and youth deeper into the closet.

Just like most of the big playoff games he was involved with as a coach, Dungy ultimately lost the battle to discriminate against an entire class of people, as Indiana has legalized same-sex marriage and the rest of the country will have it soon.

On the flip side, until now Dungy has been successful in keeping Michael Sam out of the NFL (we'll see if he can get Rice back in). His comments have also helped keep other gay NFL players in the closet.

People like Dungy are the worst part of sports: heralded for their "fatherly" position to some players and given a pass for creating a dynamic in sports where gay athletes are driven by fear. He needlessly gives Christians in sport a very bad name, and his designation of "father figure" in the NFL gives validity to the anti-gay beliefs of others.

When we asked our Twitter followers who they might nominate for the award, almost every single person mentioned Dungy. Yes, he is that big of an asshole to the LGBT community.

Dungy was previously nominated for the award in 2007 when it was just "Jerk of the Year." We've elevated the name of the award this year, and deservedly so.

Asshole of the Year runner-up: The fact that Dungy beat out Vladimir Putin, an anti-gay dictator of a nation with 140 million people, should tell you how bad Dungy is for LGBT people in sports. Yet Putin was put in the runner-up position because LGBT athletes did participate in the Olympics and won medals, and because much of his damage is being done politically and socially, not in the sports world. Though his government's attacks on the Open Games was particularly egregious.