Tony Dungy

It’s been quite the week for Tony Dungy and his employer NBC Sports. For once, however, the former NFL coach has publicly apologized for something he’s said about the LGBTQ+ community.

Dungy kicked off the week by dragging down the energy of one of the most exciting NFL playoff game finishes of all time. On Wednesday, he responded to a Daily Wire tweet about Minnesota legislators discussing a bill that would require menstrual products in boys’ school bathrooms by sharing a thoroughly debunked anecdote about litter boxes in schools. He was roundly criticized for sharing what amounts to a talking point meant to perpetuate a backlash against the recognition of gender variance and transgender equality.

The tweet was deleted later that evening and on Thursday night Dungy released a statement to USA Today offering an apology.

“I saw a tweet yesterday and I responded to it in the wrong way,” Dungy said in his statement. “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.”

On Friday, Dungy appeared at the March for Life anti-abortion rally in Washington D.C. on Friday. Speaking to the audience, Dungy mentioned Damar Hamlin’s recovery and then conflated a desire by football fans for Hamlin to be safe to people wanting abortion to be banned in America. That appearance also caught a ton of flak around the football world.

Rightly noting that his apology hadn’t gotten much attention, coupled with the fact that he was set to appear on NBC’s coverage of the NFL Playoffs on Saturday, Dungy tweeted out a screenshot of the apology along with a note on Saturday morning.

This past week I posted a tweet that I subsequently deleted,” wrote Dungy. “I issued an apology but not everyone saw it. So I am reposting my apology here. As a Christian I want to be a force for love to everyone. A force for healing and reconciliation-not for animosity.”

As many noted on social media, it appears that Dungy’s screenshot is that of an incoming text, perhaps from a publicist or other third party.

The apology comes as a surprise to many as both he and NBC have remained quiet in the past whenever he’s made a controversial statement or aligned himself with anti-gay leaders.

We’ll see if Dungy follows through on his desire to be “a force for healing and reconciliation-not for animosity.” Along with speaking at events about controlling women’s bodies, he also routinely appears as a featured speaker at an event hosted by anti-gay Christian evangelist Andrew Wommack, who has equated being gay to murder. He has also been a speaker at fundraisers for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, which bars LGBT people from leadership positions.

[Tony Dungy, USA Today]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to sean@thecomeback.com.