Tony Dungy: Moral Leader of Men

8slim

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soxfan121 said:
 
Well...I think you're closer to the mark than you'd like here. That Dungy got one of those first opportunities after toiling for years as a good company man is a pretty clear sign that Dungy has quiet fortitude. Maybe not sympathetic, but certainly he understood. I would bet he didn't like it but he also strikes me as a person who doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about things he doesn't like. 
 
I feel kinda dirty and icky here, defending Dungy, but I feel compelled to do so because it isn't necessary to destroy everything about the guy. Yep - he was an overrated head coach. Yes - he sucks donkey balls as a commentator. Yes - his recent actions suggest that he isn't enlightened on some aspects of modern life. Yep - he evangelizes like a mofo, which some find highly annoying. And yes - he might have had some serious failings as a parent and at least suffered a tragedy that I would not wish on anyone, for any reason. 
 
Dungy is wrong and he's deservingly taking some heat for it. But I don't think Dungy is a "hateful bigot" as some claim; I think he's a flawed person of a certain generation and a certain cultural influence. Older christians are the least accepting of homosexuals (in general) and Dungy certainly let slip that he would find a gay player "distracting". But I have a hard time thinking the guy hates anyone. 
 
I don't think we can afford to burn down everyone who says anything hateful; I think that while public shaming is both fun and effective, it has to have limits. Dungy spent a lifetime in football and endured lots of years as the token Head Coaching interview candidate to eventually become an overrated Head Coach. That he now doesn't see his own past experience in Michael Sam's current one is sad. 
 
TL;DR - We mock Joe Morgan, broadcaster, for not understanding that Joe Morgan, baseball player, was the quintessential "Moneyball player" because Joe Morgan, broadcaster, is an antiquated dummy yelling at clouds to get off his lawn. We don't run down the on-field achievements of Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame baseball player, for being a terrible broadcaster later in life. 
You suggest he had "quiet fortitude". I'll suggest that he simply had no other choice.

That he would embrace the notion that it's ok to not employ a player who's gay due to potential distractions is indicative of the mindset that has led presumably hundreds of NFL players to stay closeted. They probably felt like they had no other choice as well.

Sad, indeed.
 

edoug

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I'm going to start a kickstarter for bigots or other idiots. It's to teach them the right way to answer questions and when  to stop talking.They tend to start out interviews fine then they have to say something really stupid. They can't help themselves.
 

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I listened to the Patrick Show this morning, but I only could stomach a little of it. Dan and his staff agreed that Dungy said nothing wrong and Sam's talent wasn't worth the distraction. Half the callers were overtly homophobic.
Patrick is a cheesy over hyped analyst.  His best days are way behind him.  He's a caricature now.  Of course he's covering Tony's ass (pun intended).  Look, the bottom line is Dungy is discriminating against Sam.  He can spin it all he wants now.  He said what he said.  He's a hypocrite in every sense of the word.  I REALLY hope Sam makes his team and plays well.
 

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soxfan121 said:
 
Well...I think you're closer to the mark than you'd like here. That Dungy got one of those first opportunities after toiling for years as a good company man is a pretty clear sign that Dungy has quiet fortitude. Maybe not sympathetic, but certainly he understood. I would bet he didn't like it but he also strikes me as a person who doesn't spend a lot of time thinking about things he doesn't like. 
 
I feel kinda dirty and icky here, defending Dungy, but I feel compelled to do so because it isn't necessary to destroy everything about the guy. Yep - he was an overrated head coach. Yes - he sucks donkey balls as a commentator. Yes - his recent actions suggest that he isn't enlightened on some aspects of modern life. Yep - he evangelizes like a mofo, which some find highly annoying. And yes - he might have had some serious failings as a parent and at least suffered a tragedy that I would not wish on anyone, for any reason. 
 
Dungy is wrong and he's deservingly taking some heat for it. But I don't think Dungy is a "hateful bigot" as some claim; I think he's a flawed person of a certain generation and a certain cultural influence. Older christians are the least accepting of homosexuals (in general) and Dungy certainly let slip that he would find a gay player "distracting". But I have a hard time thinking the guy hates anyone. 
 
I don't think we can afford to burn down everyone who says anything hateful; I think that while public shaming is both fun and effective, it has to have limits. Dungy spent a lifetime in football and endured lots of years as the token Head Coaching interview candidate to eventually become an overrated Head Coach. That he now doesn't see his own past experience in Michael Sam's current one is sad. 
 
TL;DR - We mock Joe Morgan, broadcaster, for not understanding that Joe Morgan, baseball player, was the quintessential "Moneyball player" because Joe Morgan, broadcaster, is an antiquated dummy yelling at clouds to get off his lawn. We don't run down the on-field achievements of Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame baseball player, for being a terrible broadcaster later in life. 
Tony Dungy is a product of the culture he was raised in and his homophobia is understandable.

But regardless of the sincerity of his bigotry, its still bigotry. And the true test of character for people like Dungy isn't the casual bigotry he inherited, but the considered bigotry expressed by a mature adult who has been in a position of responsibility.

This is why I characterized him as a "hopeless" bigot. (Not a hateful bigot.) His beliefs and actions are his own and cant be shrugged off by his background or religion.
 

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jose melendez said:
This also seems to fit in a broader context of viewing sports in general and football in particular as so special that normal rules of society can't be followed there--the Incognito thing comes to mind. 
 
Can you think of another profession where someone could say, you know, I just don't want to deal with the gay guy--and he'd be called anything other than a bigot?
 
I should add that being bigoted on this issue doesn't even make Dungy a bad person--people are complicated, good people sometimes believe bad things or even do bad things.  What it does make him is a human being with a serious blind spot on one particular issue.
 
Lots of folks in the US military got away with doing this for a very long time.
 

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I assume that if Sam had first round talent, that Dungy would have more tolerance for the distraction level.  And if that's not true, I think Dungy wants us to believe that.  
 
And that he's saying, all in, the guy is a marginal prospect, and the media circus that will follow him, and his own focus on his sexuality (witness the Opra show) to the possible detriment to his focus on becoming a better football player, makes drafting him a bad idea.
 
At some level, I understand that.  In a cold, cost benefit sort of way, it makes some sense.
 
But we know that Tony is a homophobe and that this statement was an attempt at damage control.  And we know that the media circus is something that any team should be able to handle.  And that focusing on an aspect of yourself and football is something that probably almost every football player does.  As a result, even though Dungy's comments are not outrageous on their face, it doesn't take a genius to see them for the steaming pile of bullshit that they are, and for Dungy's true motives to be easy to spot.
 
As someone who hates that sanctimonious bastard, I only hope that this story has a longer shelf life than usual and that this brings great discredit upon him.
 

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jose melendez said:
Can you think of another profession where someone could say, you know, I just don't want to deal with the gay guy--and he'd be called anything other than a bigot?
I think it happens all the time in every profession but the characteristic in question isn't necessarily sexual identity.

Analogies between professional sports and our own workplaces can be tricky but I've tried to put myself in the position of a front office considering Michael Sam. Say you were hiring a sought after entry level position, an administrative assistant or coordinator, the kind of position that rarely but sometimes sees a person blossom into a major contributor. The corporate equivalent of a 7th rounder. And within a pool of qualified applicants that are otherwise hard to really separate you have one candidate who for one reason or another will make some people in your organization uncomfortable. Now, in my world being gay wouldn't cause anyone to raise an eyebrow, but what if the candidate in question was very vocal about a political or religious view that would be controversial in your workplace? Would you hire an outspoken 9/11 truther if ten other people could do the job just as well? Would you take on a likely distraction for a difference in talent that's negligible or possibly even negative?

I recognize it's a flawed analogy because there's a difference between eliminating someone for what they believe versus for who they are, but it's the closest I can come to making this situation relatable to me, and I'm not sure what I would do. I can see myself saying, forget it, I just don't have time for the headache. I think that happens all the time in every walk of life and nobody bats an eye.

I want to believe that's what Dungy was getting at and while that point of view doesn't make him a profile in courage I think the reaction to his comments has been predictably out of proportion to the point being made.
 

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TheoShmeo said:
I assume that if Sam had first round talent, that Dungy would have more tolerance for the distraction level.  And if that's not true, I think Dungy wants us to believe that.  
 
And that he's saying, all in, the guy is a marginal prospect, and the media circus that will follow him, and his own focus on his sexuality (witness the Opra show) to the possible detriment to his focus on becoming a better football player, makes drafting him a bad idea.
 
At some level, I understand that.  In a cold, cost benefit sort of way, it makes some sense.
 
I agree.  And I'd actually buy Dungy's argument that his statements were purely a "distraction" thing and not a "gay distraction" thing if it weren't for his advocacy for Tim Tebow.  When Tebow was a draft prospect, Dungy stated that he'd take Tebow over all other QBs in that draft, including with a top 10 pick.  That's fine at the time, since it was up in the air whether he could hack it in the NFL (there were arguably more "experts" questioning if he was worth a draft pick).  But even after the Jets cut him after the 2012 season and it was clear that the media frenzy that accompanied Tebow was just as big a detriment to his continued employment in the league as his lack of ability, Dungy was advocating that he could/should/would get another chance.  So much for minimizing distractions and a merit-based roster.
 

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Rather than post a "goggles do nothing" sort of response, I'll ask: Do you understand that your reasoning can be extended to any minority group? Let's spin the wheel (spins)... Muslims! Boy, they sure might make people uncomfortable. Better not hire them.
 
Edit: this is to Dehere's post above, obv.
 

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TheoShmeo said:
I assume that if Sam had first round talent, that Dungy would have more tolerance for the distraction level.  And if that's not true, I think Dungy wants us to believe that.  
 
And that he's saying, all in, the guy is a marginal prospect, and the media circus that will follow him, and his own focus on his sexuality (witness the Opra show) to the possible detriment to his focus on becoming a better football player, makes drafting him a bad idea.
 
At some level, I understand that.  In a cold, cost benefit sort of way, it makes some sense.
 
But we know that Tony is a homophobe and that this statement was an attempt at damage control.  And we know that the media circus is something that any team should be able to handle.  And that focusing on an aspect of yourself and football is something that probably almost every football player does.  As a result, even though Dungy's comments are not outrageous on their face, it doesn't take a genius to see them for the steaming pile of bullshit that they are, and for Dungy's true motives to be easy to spot.
 
As someone who hates that sanctimonious bastard, I only hope that this story has a longer shelf life than usual and that this brings great discredit upon him.
 
Even if one accepted the cost /benefit analysis (not saying you do), Dungy's attitude toward the nearly equally marginal and perhaps more distracting Tim Tebow suggests that Dungy is just doing damage control here. I know he was drafted in the first round, but at least as much as Sam, there was considerable debate about how *this* much-hyped (for different reasons) college star would translate to the pros.
 
IMO, Vick was considerably less than marginal talent, so at least Dungy's theory is internally coherent there.  But I dont think he can escape the Sam-Tebow contradiction.
 
 
EDIT:  And what Redshawks says.
 

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Red and Joe, you're right, and that's part of what I had in mind with my homophobe and damage control comments.  Thank you for making it crystal clear.  The Tebow inconsistency is delicous.  (Would Tony shudder at that expression?)
 

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Dehere said:
I think it happens all the time in every profession but the characteristic in question isn't necessarily sexual identity.

Analogies between professional sports and our own workplaces can be tricky but I've tried to put myself in the position of a front office considering Michael Sam. Say you were hiring a sought after entry level position, an administrative assistant or coordinator, the kind of position that rarely but sometimes sees a person blossom into a major contributor. The corporate equivalent of a 7th rounder. And within a pool of qualified applicants that are otherwise hard to really separate you have one candidate who for one reason or another will make some people in your organization uncomfortable. Now, in my world being gay wouldn't cause anyone to raise an eyebrow, but what if the candidate in question was very vocal about a political or religious view that would be controversial in your workplace? Would you hire an outspoken 9/11 truther if ten other people could do the job just as well? Would you take on a likely distraction for a difference in talent that's negligible or possibly even negative?

I recognize it's a flawed analogy because there's a difference between eliminating someone for what they believe versus for who they are, but it's the closest I can come to making this situation relatable to me, and I'm not sure what I would do. I can see myself saying, forget it, I just don't have time for the headache. I think that happens all the time in every walk of life and nobody bats an eye.

I want to believe that's what Dungy was getting at and while that point of view doesn't make him a profile in courage I think the reaction to his comments has been predictably out of proportion to the point being made.
 
If you said the "truther" was too much trouble, but later hired the "birther," people might suspect your motives. (something like that...you get the point)
 
 
The analogy might be as close as you can get, but Sam doesn't *directly* impact the rest of the team the way your potential hire does.  Perhaps if you replace Sam with "Chris Nowinski, Jr.", going thru the locker room and telling people how to tackle in ways that conflict with the coaches.  Or would Dow Chemical hire a crusading "Rachel Carson" (if she was an engineer).  *Those* are directly affecting the employers' ability to get the employees to do their jobs.
 
The Dungy position is more like a baseball team refusing to hire Christina Kahrl or Billy Bean* (the no 'e' Billy)-- not because the players or other FO personnel care -- but because of all the attention it would draw.  It's like he's defending against a charge of bigotry by saying he's incompetent (to deal with "distractions").  Pleading to a lesser offense to avoid  harsher sentence.
 
EDIT:  * I wonder what Dungy would say about Bean's hire by MLB?
 

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A) The Truther and Birther comments make little sense to me. Those expressed behaviors are products of the person expressing them, not a manufactured distraction by a 3rd party. It's almost as if you're not hiring a woman because she has a stalker who creeps people in the office out.

If Sam were behaving like a lot of the espn comments section believe him to, running up to teammates at practice and constantly proclaiming his homosexuality, making catcalls at players walking past him, etc, then you can talk about Sam being a distraction.

It's the MEDIA that's a distraction. Not Sam. Handle it like BB. Treat the media as always a distraction. Because it usually is.

B) I can't buy Dungy's explanation, because, honestly, I think anyone who is making that decision on a pure cost/benefit axis is smart enough to realize the cost/benefit ramifications of making that same statement on the record.
 

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PBDWake said:
It's the MEDIA that's a distraction. Not Sam. Handle it like BB. Treat the media as always a distraction. Because it usually is.
 
Bingo. BB didn't let Corey Dillon be a distraction. He didn't let Terry Glenn be a distraction. He didn't let Randy Moss or Ocho be a distraction. He didn't even let Aaron effing Hernandez be a distraction. Because like you said, the media is the distraction, no matter what the situation is, and that is how BB treats it.
 

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And that's another reason why it's all BS.  Dungy didn't let Marvin Harrison be a distraction.  He wouldn't have let Tim Tebow be a distraction.  He didn't let his Idiot Kicker be a distraction.
 
But this...this is somehow different.
 

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tims4wins said:
 
Bingo. BB didn't let Corey Dillon be a distraction. He didn't let Terry Glenn be a distraction. He didn't let Randy Moss or Ocho be a distraction. He didn't even let Aaron effing Hernandez be a distraction. Because like you said, the media is the distraction, no matter what the situation is, and that is how BB treats it.
 
Of course, Dungy is now a part of the media and is, in fact, feeding the fire. 
 

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Anyone hear his interview with Dan Patrick this morning? I missed it, did he lob softballs?
 

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tims4wins said:
 
Bingo. BB didn't let Corey Dillon be a distraction. He didn't let Terry Glenn be a distraction. He didn't let Randy Moss or Ocho be a distraction. He didn't even let Aaron effing Hernandez be a distraction. Because like you said, the media is the distraction, no matter what the situation is, and that is how BB treats it.
And did not allow Tebow to be a distraction.

There is no one-size-fits-all in these matters.

I am confident in BB and that confidence would extend to Fisher and Tom Coughlin, for example.

It would not extend to Rex Ryan in any circumstances. Nor would it extend to others in more challenging circumstances -- as just one example, a rookie HC like Gruden in DC.

Again, the problem with Dungy is his double standard and the fact that he's in the former category above, and not the latter.
 

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I would think the better analogy would be hiring someone who is black, or Asian, or Pakistani.  Those are things that a person is, not something they choose to be.  How would it go if you said that you didn't hire that Pakistani guy because he might make some people uncomfortable?  I suspect HR and Legal would not be down with that.   ;)
 
And others well covered the distraction issue.  Tim Tebow was no distraction for the Pats, and Mantei Te'o was no distraction for the Chargers.  The media glare on Sam will be gone soon enough.  But the impact of influential people saying that they're cool with not employing him will linger.  How many borderline NFL players will continue to stay closeted because they fear that Dungy's comments represent the mindset of most NFL GMs (which sadly I think is pretty accurate)?  
 
I guess the lesson is: if you're gay be sure to be a no-brainer, top 5 pick.  Otherwise, shut up about it.
 

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I like a lot of what Jason Whitlock says about this debate - http://espn.go.com/nfl/story/_/id/11252669/tony-dungy-michael-sam-nfl
 
 
Is Sam, a marginal NFL talent, worth the trouble, the distractions? When you consider his NFL career might stop one child from contemplating suicide because his/her sexuality is outside the norm, then, hell yes, Sam is worth it. No different from Vick's successful re-entry into the NFL might have opened one close-minded person to the possibility that ex-cons have value.
Dungy has always tried to be bigger than football. That's why I respect and admire him. It's disappointing to see him wallow in smallness on a topic this important.
 

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Whitlock's piece is great, yet almost every comment on there is with Dungy.  I suppose they're (we're) not all bigots, but man it seems like football fans are willing to abandon any social belief if they think it will help them win a game.  The insistence that people who demand equal right for gays are themselves intolerant is pretty tired too.  I swear to God, that if this was 1964, about 70% of those folks would be defending the right to segregate.  Maybe I'm wrong, but damn if the arguments aren't the same.
 
In other news, isn't the Redskins name a distraction? 
 

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Yesterday on Dan Patrick, Dungy said he wishes Sam the best, even though he doesn't agree with his lifestyle choice.
 
That's a pretty defiant jab in the midst of what's supposed to be an abject apology.
 

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Phil Plantier said:
Yesterday on Dan Patrick, Dungy said he wishes Sam the best, even though he doesn't agree with his lifestyle choice.
 
That's a pretty defiant jab in the midst of what's supposed to be an abject apology.
Did he really say "lifestyle choice"?!

What an asshole.
 

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8slim said:
I'm sure while he toiled away for years as an NFL assistant Dungy was sympathetic to owners who claimed that they were only not hiring black head coaches because of the distraction it would cause.

I mean if Lombardi was black they could deal with the distraction.
 
This is awesome.
 

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Dehere said:
I think it happens all the time in every profession but the characteristic in question isn't necessarily sexual identity.

Analogies between professional sports and our own workplaces can be tricky but I've tried to put myself in the position of a front office considering Michael Sam. Say you were hiring a sought after entry level position, an administrative assistant or coordinator, the kind of position that rarely but sometimes sees a person blossom into a major contributor. The corporate equivalent of a 7th rounder. And within a pool of qualified applicants that are otherwise hard to really separate you have one candidate who for one reason or another will make some people in your organization uncomfortable. Now, in my world being gay wouldn't cause anyone to raise an eyebrow, but what if the candidate in question was very vocal about a political or religious view that would be controversial in your workplace? Would you hire an outspoken 9/11 truther if ten other people could do the job just as well? Would you take on a likely distraction for a difference in talent that's negligible or possibly even negative?

I recognize it's a flawed analogy because there's a difference between eliminating someone for what they believe versus for who they are, but it's the closest I can come to making this situation relatable to me, and I'm not sure what I would do. I can see myself saying, forget it, I just don't have time for the headache. I think that happens all the time in every walk of life and nobody bats an eye.

I want to believe that's what Dungy was getting at and while that point of view doesn't make him a profile in courage I think the reaction to his comments has been predictably out of proportion to the point being made.
 
I wouldn't hire a birther or a truther simply because it would suggest to me that the person isn't very smart and therefore isn't the most qualified candidate for the position.  It would have nothing to do with the possibility of a distraction.
 

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I just listened to it again, the quote is "even though I don't agree with his lifestyle, I love him" So, not quite as bad as "lifestyle choice" but still completely unnecessary in the middle of an apology
 

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Phil Plantier said:
I just listened to it again, the quote is "even though I don't agree with his lifestyle, I love him" So, not quite as bad as "lifestyle choice" but still completely unnecessary in the middle of an apology
Not sure how this is news. Dungy has been quite open over the years with his homophobic beliefs.
 

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Phil Plantier said:
I just listened to it again, the quote is "even though I don't agree with his lifestyle, I love him" So, not quite as bad as "lifestyle choice" but still completely unnecessary in the middle of an apology
 
It's still horrible. Homosexuality is not a lifestyle choice, for crissakes. It's the classic "it's a sin but I forgive him" crap all over again.
 

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edoug said:
I'm going to start a kickstarter for bigots or other idiots. It's to teach them the right way to answer questions and when  to stop talking.They tend to start out interviews fine then they have to say something really stupid. They can't help themselves.
 
Why? You should let them speak to show who they really are. 
 
The kickstarter isn't needed for the bigots, it's for the idiots that don't hold their feet to the fire.
 

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DrewDawg said:
 
Why? You should let them speak to show who they really are. 
 
The kickstarter isn't needed for the bigots, it's for the idiots that don't hold their feet to the fire.
Well you have a good point.