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Dungy's speech against gay Colts fans

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Photo: AP

It's why I don't go to see many movies anymore, even though I'm a big movie fan. I don't care that Angelina Jolie is adopting ANOTHER kid from some poor country. I get it. She likes adopting poor kids. Again, I get it. WHY IS IT ALWAYS ON THE NEWS? One reason is because people like Jolie seek out the news, using publicists and press contacts, in order to bring "awareness" to certain issues. It's like Richard Gere and his China crusade. Remember when he made his silly speech at the Oscars about how evil China was? Drives me nuts when celebrities do things like that. Take the statue, thank your mom, and walk off the stage.

It's for these reasons that I am so annoyed with Tony Dungy for his recent speech for the Indiana Family Institute at the Ritz Charles. 700 people attended the banquet which featured Dungy as the keynote speaker. Hunter Smith and his Christian band Connersvine where also there. That's another thing that will often piss me off: Athletes that think they can sing and play music.

Dungy spoke at this event and made it clear that he agrees, both politically and religiously, with the Indiana Family Institute, an organization with a very aggressive stance against gay people in America. They seek the federal government to ratify a Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage. Last I checked, gay marriage was a service that is not allowed in most states anyway. When they talked about it during the 2004 election, it didn't make much sense to me. It's not allowed anyway. Why a Constitutional ban?

As a Colts fan, I find Dungy's speech offensive and wrong, and coach should be ashamed of himself.

Now, before I start getting Jerry Jones hiring-like comments, this has nothing to do with Dungy's specific beliefs or his right to speak his mind. I could care what Dungy believes in, or what anyone else believes. What I am angry with is Dungy shaming and marginalizing other Colts fans, making them feel like crap. Yes folks, there are many Colts fans who happen to be gay. Shocking, I know. They cheer just as loud as straight fans. They paint their faces blue and white, watch every game on Direct TV, and cried their eyes dry when Dungy was hoisted up on the shoulders of his players after Indy won Super Bowl 41. They shell out good money for game tickets, stadium concessions, and parking. It's these loyal fans that Tony Dungy just kicked in the nuts, and that is just plain wrong folks.

I have my own personal beliefs about whether homosexuality is right or wrong, but like most people I usually keep those beliefs to himself. Sure, I argue and debate with friends and family about this and that now and again, but you do not see me using this site to promote my political or religious viewpoints. The reason I don't is because I don't want to marginalize Colts fans.

Sports is one of the very few subjects that can bring people together. It doesn't matter your race, your religion, or your politics. All that is left at the door. Here, you're a Colts fan. It's why I get pissed when MasterRWayne does one of his Purdue rants. There are many Purdue grads who love the Colts. I know, shocking isn't it. I don't like it when someone in athletics uses their power of celebrity to marginalize people. It's the same as if Dungy got up there and said, "Gay marriage is great and anyone who disagrees is stupid." Saying such things only ridicules the very people that cheer for you every Sunday, coach. Why stab Colts fans in the back like that? Why?

I've lost a little respect for Dungy today, as have several other Colts fans. As fans, all we ask of the players and coaches we root for is that they do their job well and with decency. Despite Dungy's intentions, his speech lacked the decency we have come to expect from him. There's nothing decent about ridiculing the very fans that pay money to see you coach. I'm certain the Colts management is none-to-happy about his speech, as it probably just cost them a portion of their fan base. On their site, the Colts make it very clear that they do not take sides on political and religious issues. Well, the face of their franchise (Dungy) just did, and all it will do is marginalize and divide Colts fans.

Please feel free to comment, to agree or disagree. I feel very strongly about what Dungy did, and would like some feedback. As always, thanks for reading and commenting.

Update [2007-3-21 18:26:4 by BigBlueShoe]: AOL Fanhouse has a story up on Dungy's speech by David J. Warner. Again, the main issue here is not Dungy's opinion. The issue here is summed up best by SB Nation's excellent Redskins blogger, Skins Patrol:

Tony Dungy inserted himself into a controversial discussion. He has an absolute 1st Amendment right to do so, but that doesn't mean it was the correct thing to do. It was argued, reasonably in my opinion, that NFL Coaches better perform their jobs when they mediate their public statements. There is nothing equivocal about what Tony Dungy said, and as BBS pointed out many fans of the Colts are homosexuals. Many would disagree with his statements. Many would find his suggestion insulting.

If you think it is a good idea for the Coach of any franchise to insult its fans, just say so. You want to make this about free speech when it isn't; it's about good judgment. If Tony Dungy had said something you find morally reprehensible (what if he advocated human sacrifice?) then I am certain your position would be different.