Luke McAvoy, the former Univ. of Minnesota offensive lineman who came out publicly as gay last week, won an impressive award with the football team in 2014: the Tony Dungy Character and Community Service award. Yes, the school has a character award named after a man who has spent countless hours raising money to fight against equality for gay people and degrading them with his words.
Two years ago, a gay guy won that award.
According to McAvoy, who discussed the award on the Outsports podcast last week, it's an award voted on by the team. He was very involved throughout his career with the team in their community-service program, volunteering at various local schools.
That the award is named for Dungy, an avowed anti-gay former Minnesota player, isn't lost on McAvoy.
Gay Minnesota football player earned team respect
"It was the acceptance from my teammates that I will remember," says Luke McAvoy, who hid his secret for years. "I wish I came out sooner."
"I take it as an opportunity to prove him wrong," McAvoy said on the podcast. "Each one of us, we are so many different identities at the same time. Tony Dungy has done some good things in his life. His stance on homosexuality is not something I would label good or close to that. It's much worse than that. It's an opportunity to show him that gays can be on the team, and they're not a distraction, they're there to help out. They can play as well as anyone else can."
The Big Ten has named its annual Humanitarian Award for Dungy, who was recently elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, telling us straight people in football still couldn't care less about anti-gay bigotry.