David Tyree has been hired by the New York Giants as their new director of player development. Three years ago he said he opposed same-sex marriage and supported "gay conversion therapy."
Dear Mr. Tyree,
I remember that defining moment in Super bowl XLII. Your helmet catch was one of the most incredible NFL plays I've experienced in my 31 years. It broke the collective heart of the Patriot nation!
But your statements in the past about the LGBT community and endorsement of the dangerous practice of conversion therapy break my heart as an openly gay Christian man.
You've talked about a personal transformation with Christ after being at the end of your strength. You've talked about experiencing love that changed your life forever. I too share your faith in Jesus as my lord and savior. I too value a religious and faith-driven perspective of loving the Lord my God with all of my heart, mind and soul. I too strive to approach from an angle of prayer the daily challenges involved in the human experience. I too value the marriage relationship as a man or woman entering into a covenant with the person they've been created to love (I understand you disagree).
I'm a former athlete, coach and athletic director involved in sports ministry for six years. I was introduced to the person of Jesus the beginning of my junior year of high school. The first passage of scripture that meant more than just ink on paper was John 10:10. You probably know it. Jesus says, "the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I (Jesus) come to give a full life."
I knew I was gay early at a young age. I just didn't know what that meant. I also knew as a member of a team and conservative community that acknowledging that part of me would be dangerous. I was told the stereotypical mantra that being "gay" was unnatural and an abomination before God. So I did everything possible not to be "gay" including "conversion therapy."
For six months I participated in this dangerous form of oppressive therapy with the now disbanded Exodus International Ex-Gay Ministry. This therapy has no efficacy behind it, just fuzzy homophobic jargon. Every major professional medical association in America has denounced it as harmful to youth. LGBT youth are eight times as likely to attempt suicide, six times as likely to struggle with depression and three times as likely to use illegal drugs, because of the dangers of conversion therapy.
I personally experienced group sessions where I was told I was gay because of an absent father or overbearing mother. I was promised I could change, that I could pray the gay away. The reality, however, is that my sexuality hasn't changed.
The only thing that conversion therapy did for me was promote resentment towards my parents and a growing despair that maybe my life wasn't worth living.
Have you ever read psalm 139? The psalm says that, "we are fearfully and wonderfully created," and that God's creation is "wonderful." God knows us completely. This passage reconciled my faith. If God's works are wonderfully created and he created me, then he created others and myself with the capacity to love another person.
Mr. Tyree, I write this to encourage you to open your mind and heart toward the LGBT community. You've been given an opportunity by the New York Giants as the director of player development. "The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy." Don't be the thief, Mr. Tyree. Show the love Jesus showed so many and continues to show us.
My hope Mr. Tyree is you'll recognize that although Michael Sam may be the first openly gay player to be drafted into the NFL, he won't be the last and isn't the only gay man in the NFL.
Those who find themselves on the Giants will need your love.