Tony Dungy just can’t help himself.
The NFL analyst for NBC just can’t stop weighing in on LGBT issues in ways that are demeaning and dismissive.
The latest is a Twitter exchange that stemmed from this message asking for a more-inclusive approach from Dungy to his messages about LGBT people:
“A response to the defending of trans people while they are ruthlessly targeted should include more than ‘Jesus saves,’” tweeted a Chicago resident in response to a Twitter thread where Dungy preached turning to Jesus. “Much love to you, but I think this was a missed chance to show the Christian message is actually relevant today.”
Dungy’s response was dismissive:
“‘Jesus saves’ is the best answer for them.”
Oh yeah, that will fix everything.
The mental gymnastics one has to perform to think that the issues facing transgender people can all be answered by simply believing in an alleged prophet from 2,000 years ago is tone-deaf at best and cruel at worst. Particularly when that community has been vilified by the religion that has risen from his alleged teachings.
Trans people by definition feel they were born in the wrong body, and the societal pressures around that are so immense that the suicide ideation amongst trans people is extremely high, made worse by some Christian doctrine.
For a father who has experienced his young son committing suicide, it is shocking how lacking compassion for others — particularly youth — this man is.
That’s what the person on Twitter was trying to convey to Dungy: “Hey, can’t you shoot this attacked community a little love that they will feel and understand?”
Instead of offering some thoughtful commentary about loving other people, he went with the same old “I’m right and you’re wrong” born-again Christian dogma that has made him such an anathema to people in the LGBT community and beyond.
Can you imagine Dungy telling one of his players with a torn hamstring, “Oh suck it up, ‘Jesus saves,’ you’ll be fine. Just believe in Jesus more. Now get back in the game.”
The former NFL coach has, as far as I’m concerned, asserted himself as the most publicly anti-LGBT person in the history of the NFL. In 2007 he raised money to fight against same-sex marriage. He said he wouldn’t want out gay player Michael Sam on his team, and that he didn’t agree with Jason Collins’ lifestyle. He has routinely shared anti-LGBT messages on Twitter, earlier this year saying transgender kids want litter boxes in schools.
He has gotten away with it over the years because he has a quiet demeanor, and people who meet him describe him as “nice.”
Yet his routine messaging the demonization of the LGBT community is hardly “nice.”
His anti-LGBT bigotry, and his desire to share those feelings publicly, seems to me will never end. This is a committed part of who he is, and frankly it feels like he resents the LGBT community.
Sadly, NBC Sports continues to give him an audience and platform. When LGBT employees asked NBC to have Dungy apologize on-air for his disgraceful comments, the network reportedly refused.
Dungy likely won’t stop sharing his anti-LGBT bigotry anytime soon. Given his clear bigoted views, and the lack of repercussion, he has no reason to.
And we won’t stop covering it.