After tweeting out a debunked news article last week about a school that was claimed to be providing litter boxes in bathrooms for students that identified as cats, Tony Dungy quickly apologized for the incident. However, that wasn’t enough for the NBC News LGBTQ section NBC Out, which promptly published a report citing the NFL coaching legend’s Christian faith and past tweets to support the idea of his supposed “bigotry”. NBC Out demanded Dungy issue an on-air apology on the NBC Sports Network, where he is currently employed. While they have been unsuccessful in their efforts thus far, Dungy continues to remain steadfast in his conservative values, recently appearing at the March for Life Rally in Washington, D.C., just a week ago.
By Joseph A. Wulfsohn; January 26, 2023
NBC News is shooting inside the tent with a report targeting NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy over what it calls his “anti-LGBTQ history.”
Dungy was under fire last week for a tweet peddling a debunked claim that schools in the U.S. were beginning to put “litter boxes in the school bathrooms for students who identify as cats.” He later deleted the tweet and issued an apology.
But NBC Out, the LGBTQ section of NBC News, published a scathing report on its parent company colleague, accusing him of spreading a “transphobic myth” and doing a deep dive into his past tweets to portray the NFL Hall of Famer as bigoted.
In addition to recapping the backlash Dungy received in the media, NBC News reported it “found at least a dozen tweets from Dungy’s account, from 2012 to 2022, that are critical of same-sex marriage, homosexuality and the LGBTQ ‘lifestyle,'” citing two tweets.
One tweet quoting Dungy from June 2022 read, “And no one is saying God will only banish homosexuals to hell. Jesus said anyone who is not born again by accepting Him as their savior will not enter the kingdom of heaven. That’s the criteria for avoiding hell.”
The other from 2020 read, “You and I disagree about whether LGBTQ is a lifestyle. But that has nothing to do with how I ‘treat people’. There was a lot more in my comments in that story that never got written. But that happens a lot. We’re seeing that today.”
The report also resurfaced comments the former Indianapolis Colts head coach made in 2014 saying he wouldn’t have openly gay player Michael Sam on his team saying, “It’s not going to be totally smooth… things will happen.”
The report quoted Shefik Macauley, who NBC News described as an “NBC Sports employee who is among the leaders of NBC Universal’s LGBTQ employee resource group,” and how he was “unsuccessful” in his effort to have NBC Sports force Dungy to issue an on-air apology, a decision the network defended to NBC News by saying the Twitter apology was enough since the offending tweet was given on that platform.
“If someone is empowered to be on camera and be the face of whatever platform that is, then we should be able to address it with that same audience that we’re empowering that person to be in front of,” Macauley told NBC News.
NBC News also quoted an LGBTQ activist who denounced NBC’s handling of Dungy and pointed to his slated appearance at the Men’s Advance Conference hosted by evangelical pastor Andrew Wommack, who NBC News said is “known for his anti-LGBTQ views.”
The article was posted and retweeted by multiple NBCUniversal employees including NBC News and CNBC staffers.
NBC News investigative reporter Mike Hixenbaugh admonished Dungy while sharing the report, writing, “Read to the end to discover that Tony Dungy is slated to speak at a Christian nationalist convention led by a leading proponent of the Seven Mountains Mandate, which argues that evangelical Christians are called on to rule all aspects of U.S. society.”
While many on the left have attacked Dungy, the NFL icon has received glowing praise on the right for his recent appearance at the March for Life rally in Washington D.C.