Former NFL Coach Tony Dungy, who was the first black head coach to win a Super Bowl title, became the target of left-wing critics this week when they conjured up outrage at Dungy’s racial wrongthink.
On Monday, Dungy appeared alongside Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis to support the governor’s “Responsible Fatherhood Initiative,” which puts $70 million in state funds toward programs for male role models.
Dungy’s two-minute remarks focused on his own experience growing up with a strong father figure in contrast to others who did not.
“I had a dad who was around me all the time and supported me, and I thought everyone was like that. I got to my job at the National Football League, started interviewing our players, and I began to understand not everyone had that same blessing that I had,” Dungy said at the governor’s press conference.
It really got driven home to me my first year here in Tampa when I got the job. Legendary man here by the name of Abe Brown. Many of you know the name Abe Brown. He had a prison ministry. He wanted me to go with him, and I went on the first trip expecting to see grizzled, hard, tough older guys, and what I met were 19- and 20- and 21-year-old kids who looked like my boys. And I remember driving home from that trip and asking Reverend Brown, ‘How do those young boys get here?’ And he told me it’s not socioeconomic. It’s not racial. It’s not education. It’s none of that. Ninety-five percent of these boys did not grow up with their dad. And that hit me.
Leftists who demand ideological compliance along racial lines weren’t enthusiastic about Dungy’s appearance.
“Tony Dungy is constantly used as a prop by bigots,” headlined Deadspin on Wednesday, while Keith Olbermann labeled Dungy a “fascist political prop.”
“Fathers are extremely important, but yeah … that ain’t how this works,” The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill fired at Dungy on Twitter, going on to offer a series of what-ifs proving Dungy’s point.
Dungy’s comments triggered liberal pundits not only because they were made next to a Republican governor who has become a top target of the left, but also because the facts are out of step with left-wing orthodoxy on race and family matters. Dungy didn’t apologize for his statements, though, and instead pointed out that Democrats’ beloved President Barack Obama shared the same statements 14 years ago.
“[Two] days ago I spoke on behalf of a Florida bill that supports dads & families and it offended some people,” Dungy addressed his critics on Twitter. “[Fourteen] years ago Pres Obama said the same things almost verbatim. I’m assuming people were outraged at him too,” Dungy continued with a screenshot of Obama’s comments.
In lieu of an apology over the faux outrage, Dungy concluded by affirming his commitment to faith and fatherhood: “I am serving the Lord, so I’ll keep supporting dads and families.”