Since currently-active NBA player Jason Collins announced to the world that he is a homosexual, and following the comments from ESPN's Chris Broussard, I've wondered, "What's Tony Dungy's opinion on all this?"
I raised this question again privately with colleagues this week after veteran Colts receiver Reggie Wayne told the media on Wednesday that Indianapolis' locker room would have no problem with a gay teammate. Punter Pat McAfee echoed that sentiment this week as well.
Times have apparently changed since 2007, when then-Colts head coach Tony Dungy spoke to the Indiana Family Institute (IFI). His comments at a dinner which IFI sponsored in March 2007 were taken by many as an attack on the rights of individuals who are often shunned and persecuted simply for being what they are.
Individuals like Jason Collins, for instance.
The group Dungy spoke to in 2007, the Indiana Family Institute (IFI), was and still is a conservative policy organization working to make gay marriage illegal in the state of Indiana. Specifically, Dungy stated that he embraced a constitutional amendment making same-sex marriage illegal. Since then, states like Iowa, New York, Rhodes Island, and Massachusetts have passed laws legalizing and recognizing same-sex marriage while other states - including Mississippi, Louisiana, and Nevada, just to name a few - have passed amendments banning same-sex marriage.
Since the Collins story broke, Stampede Blue has reached out to Coach Dungy, asking him to comment on whether or not his views on gays and same-sex marriage have changed since his controversial support of IFI in 2007.
On Friday, Coach Dungy responded back to my Twitter handle with this:
@stampedeblue I don't agree with Jason Collins' lifestyle but think he deserves respect and should have opportunities like anyone else!— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) May 3, 2013
While we thank Coach Dungy for finally commenting on this story, it's unfortunate that he is referring to homosexuality as a "lifestyle." A gay person can no more choose to be gay than a black person can choose the color of their skin when they are born.
That said, his comment that homosexuals like Collins "should have opportunities like anyone else" suggests his views on gay marriage might have changed in recent years.
We have contacted Coach Dungy again, asking him if his views on gay marriage have indeed changed. We'll let you know if he responds.
Tony Dungy retired from the NFL in 2008, and has since worked as an in-studio analyst for NBC's Football Night in America.
For more on the Jason Collins story, please visit OutSports.com.