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Is Something Amiss With Tony Dungy’s Latest Apology?

  • Dungy apologized for promoting an debunked anti-trans trope on Twitter.
  • Dungy has made multiple anti-gay statements in the past.
Tony Dungy
Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

NBC Sports NFL analyst Tony Dungy reposted an apology for promoting a debunked anti-trans trope on Saturday. 

The words were the same, but Secret Base engagement manager Kofie Yeboah pointed out something: Dungy screen capped what appeared to be an incoming text message.  

“I saw a tweet yesterday and I responded to it in the wrong way,” the text message read. “As a Christian I should speak in love and in ways that are caring and helpful. I failed to do that and I am deeply sorry.”

That original statement was provided via an NBC Sports spokesperson who said the apology originated from a Dungy representative. FOS asked that representative if that text/statement was written by him, but received no response. 

It was the same word-for-word apology Front Office Sports and other outlets received late last week after Dungy responded to a video posted by the right-leaning site Daily Wire that showed a Minnesota politician advocating for menstrual products in all school restrooms. 

In the since-deleted tweet from Wednesday, Dungy wrote “some school districts are putting litter boxes in school bathrooms.” According to NBC News, this litter box misinformation began with Minnesota GOP gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen last fall. At least 20 other politicians have repeated the baseless claim citing different school districts. 

“School officials nationwide have said time and again that the claims have no merit. PolitiFact and other fact-checkers have repeatedly looked into these claims in various states accused of installing school litter boxes,” PolitiFact wrote. “Every time, there has been no evidence to support the allegations, which experts say are transphobic.”

On Friday, Dungy spoke at the March for Life on Friday, an anti-abortion rally in Washington, where he equated abortion to the near-death of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. 

“An unbelievable thing happened that night,” Dungy told the crowd. “A professional football game with millions of dollars of ticket money and advertising money on the line, that game was canceled. Why? Because a life was at stake, and people wanted to see that life saved. Even people who are not necessarily religious got together and called on God. That should be encouraging to us because that’s exactly why we’re here today. Because every day in this country, innocent lives are at stake. The only difference is they don’t belong to a famous athlete and they’re not seen on national TV. But those lives are still important to God and in God’s eyes.”

News organizations tend to limit their employees to be outspoken on political issues, but what policies apply at NBC for Dungy and those in similar roles is unclear. 

But Dungy’s hot takes over the last week didn’t come as a surprise to many. 

The Pro Football Hall of Famer and Super Bowl-winning coach is close to preacher Andrew Wommack, an outspoken anti-gay evangelist who said, “homosexuality is three times worse than smoking” and gays should wear a warning label on their foreheads that reads “This could be hazardous to your health.”

OutSports details many of Dungys’ anti-gay remarks over the years, including saying he’d not select Michael Sam, who won co-SEC defensive player of the year before the 2014 NFL Draft. 

“Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it,” Dungy said. 

Dungy also raised money for a group that opposed marriage equality and tweeted that he disagreed with the “lifestyle” of Jason Collins, the first out NBA player. 

NBC Sports hasn’t commented about Dungy’s tweet or his appearance at the March for Life.

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