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Posted by on Jul 23, 2014 in Culture | 9 comments

Christian McCarthyism: Tony Dungy

Christian McCarthyism: Tony Dungy

There is a new McCarthyism sweeping across our cultural landscape.  The target of the prodding tongs and loaded questions is not a political viewpoint, ethnic group or social bias.  The enemy of the state is those who hold to a biblical worldview.

Recently, Tony Dungy, former Super Bowl winning coach, author, speaker, and current NFL commentator, found the red dot on his chest of the new Christian McCarthyism.  What was his crime?  He stated that he would not have drafted NFL rookie and openly gay football player Michael Sam.  His reasoning was not because of Sam’s sexuality, but because of the unnecessary media circus and distraction surrounding a seventh round draft pick.

Michael Sam was a great college player.  After a sub-par NFL combine and running a disconcerting 40 time, his draft prospects looked dim.  This is the case for many collegiate players seeking to enter football’s highest level.  He was projected to be a late round pick if one at all.  This is not newsworthy.  However, given the fact that Sam is a practicing homosexual, he quickly became one of the draft’s main stories.

Tony Dungy, who is a professing Christian, stated as a football coach it would not be worth the media frenzy and distraction for him to take such a player.  What type of player?  A sub-par combine performing, slow 40 running seventh round draft pick.

But as Pardon the Interruption’s Tony Kornheiser stated, “What he said was that he didn’t want the media circus.  What I heard was, ‘I don’t want a gay football player.’”

Here is the new McCarthyism at play.  Tony Dungy is a Christian who holds to a biblical worldview.  Because of this, the words he uses, the reputation he has built, and the respect he has garnished are all thrown aside at the possibility that a person’s lifestyle might be a source of discernment in a hiring decision.

But consider the facts.  Do you know who else decided they didn’t want the Michael Sam media circus for their team?  Thirty-one other NFL coaches, owners, and general managers.  Not only that, but the team that did draft him, the St. Louis Rams, passed on him six times before taking him in the seventh round.  Either this means everyone in NFL leadership is anti-gay, or Michael Sam as a football player is one that teams could do with or without.

Hypothetically, what if Sam’s lifestyle influenced his draft status?  This is not new.  Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel slipped in the draft despite his high draft-stock because some owners and general managers decided his ensuing media circus and lifestyle would be a detriment to their team goals.

What about a person’s lifestyle creating a media distraction?  Tim Tebow, a devout Christian, virgin, and biblical worldview supporter, was also discriminated against in the draft because of the media circus that followed him as well as his limited hopes as a successful NFL quarterback.

Where was the anger then?  Where were those on ESPN lauding the Broncos for taking a young man with biblical sexual views?  Where were the pundits spewing venom at every other commentator or NFL organization who said they wouldn’t take Tebow because of the media baggage?

Most mocked Tebow for his virginity.  Most acknowledged he was a solid young man of character, leadership, and a degree of skill.  But why were organizations given the pass on not selecting Tebow?  Because of football skills and media frenzy.  Why did Tony Dungy say he wouldn’t take Michael Sam? Because of football skills and media frenzy.

One Philadelphia writer put the case succinctly regarding Tebow late last year:

“Tony Kornheiser told me…that Tim Tebow is still the number one most searched athlete in America. THAT’S how insane our country is these days. A guy who is so bad at football that he’s LITERALLY the most popular football player on the planet…Still no job and still wildly popular.  All because he talks about Jesus like they were boys back in high school.”

You don’t have to lift the veil on those words.  You don’t have to speculate.

The new Christian McCarthyism is bent on hunting down those with a biblical worldview and fileting them in the public eye.  Under what banner?  Sexual liberalism.  Sex is our god, and anyone who does not bow down to it is to be mocked, stripped of honor, degraded and labeled as a hate monger.  This is particularly the case if your conviction regarding sex comes from the Bible.

Tony Dungy did not say he wouldn’t want Michael Sam because of his sexuality.  He didn’t even say he wouldn’t want him on his team.  He said he wouldn’t draft him because of the baggage the media has created and the distraction it would create.

Dungy stated, “I was not asked whether or not Michael Sam deserves an opportunity to play in the NFL. He absolutely does.  I was not asked whether his sexual orientation should play a part in the evaluation process. It should not.  I was not asked whether I would have a problem having Michael Sam on my team. I would not.”

However, he is being judged and ridiculed as a hate-mongering, homophobic bigot.

The new Christian McCarthyism hears only what it wants to hear.

Tony Dungy is only a recent example.  Watch and be aware.

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About The Author

Ryan Smith

Ryan is associate pastor at Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He is the author of Not That God.

Ryan Smith has blogged 121 posts at

9 responses to “Christian McCarthyism: Tony Dungy”

  1. Thomas Gerard says:

    Wrong as usual lying phony. But by all means, continue to play the “Christianity is under siege” card. It is the only card tribalistic morons like you have in their deck. Teams passed on Tim Tebow because he was a Quarterback that couldn’t play Quarterback. It is the most skilled position in the NFL and Tim Tebow clearly didn’t possess the talent to play that most coveted position. You conveniently forgot to mention that Tony Dungy didn’t have a problem with the media circus around Michael Vick. Tony Dungy lied about when the interview occurred. He mentioned the Oprah reality show, even though that idea had already been cancelled. Dungy contradicts himself saying “he wouldn’t have drafted him” and “wouldn’t have a problem drafting him.”. The condemnations of homosexuality occur in Leviticus. That is the same Leviticus that states the slave must respect the slaveowner and the the slaveowner has the right to beat his slave. I realize somebody like you that believes the earth is 6000 years old isn’t familiar with facts, but give it a try for once.

    • Scott Farrington says:

      Thomas, a note to your point regarding Michael Vick….Tony Dungy was not an active coach in the NFL, when he offered to be a mentor to Mr. Vick. He was desiring to help Vick get on the road to displaying respectful behavior and improved decision making. The mainstream media, and Michael Sam, himself, chose to make a media circus of his sexual preference. Had Mr. Sam chosen to keep his personal sexual choices as personal….his drafting (or non-drafting) would be a non-event. But, as it is now, Sam has chosen to be on display, and the distractions (whatever they may be) that accompany such a display don’t typically bode well for building a high-performing NFL team. Dungy has come under fire, not because of his common-sensical view of the situation from a coach’s perspective, but because of the fact that he happens to be a follow of Jesus Christ and the same circus that chooses to lift up Mr. Sam has found its next target in tearing down Tony Dungy. To Mr. Sam’s credit, he does say that he realizes that everyone is entitled to their opinions. That’s more than I can say for your tone and attitude towards Ryan Smith, here.

      • Thomas Gerard says:

        You also seem to have a very hard time with the facts. And as for my tone, gee, another thin-skinned Christian Conservative – YAWN! My problem with Tony Dungy is not his opinions, it’s his hypocrisy! He can’t get a pass not wanting to get involved in Sam’s “media circus” while trying to convince other teams to have no problem with the fact that Michael Vick was involved in a reality show AT THAT TIME called “The Michael Vick Project”. What about HYPOCRISY don’t you understand?

        • Scott Farrington says:

          Thomas, he was asked about his thoughts on coaching a team with Michael Sam. He was not asked about coaching Michael Vick. Do you know the difference between being an NFL coach and being an off-the-field mentor? These are two different situations. As for the thin-skinned comment, based on venom-filled comments you’ve made here and elsewhere, I’d say you may have some thin-skin issues of your own to perhaps deal with, regarding thoughts and opinions that vary from your own.

          • Thomas Gerard says:

            He was talking about not wanting to be involved in Michael Sams “media circus” while trying to convince other NFL coaches to get involved in Michael Vick’s “media circus”which was called the “Michael Vick Project” He even supported Vick’s decision to be involved in that show. For some inexplicable reason you are hung up on the “mentor” thing, while ignoring everything else. Your reading skills are woeful. I’m sick to death of this lame persecution complex your ilk has. If you are being a hypocrite, hiding behind the bible doesn’t immune your side from criticism.

          • Scott Farrington says:

            My ilk? If by ilk, you refer to being a follower of Christ, yes, Christians are certainly open to criticism and are openly criticized. We fail, we are imperfect and we still sin. We need grace and recognize our need for forgiveness in the eyes of a Holy God. And, I am one of “those” people. Thomas, know that I’ll be praying for you. I’m putting your name on a post-it note on my computer to remind me to do so. I appreciate our interaction today, and it’s my hope that if you don’t know the saving love, forgiveness and grace offered by Jesus, that you will somebody come that place of salvation.

          • Thomas Gerard says:

            Oh spare me the self-serving piety. Refer back to the original article to realize who started the ‘Us vs. Them’ scenario. Roger Staubach, Kurt Warner, Joe Gibbs, and Steve Young, to name a few, were Christians that never shied away from expressing their views. It has never been the views that are open to criticism, it is the hypocrisy.

          • Toby Angell says:

            Hi Thomas, it seems in this case you criticized the author of this post for his views not his hypocrisy. So hypocrisy appears to cut both ways. It’s okay, we all do it, it’s one of the reasons we need a savior.

  2. Wade says:

    Wow ! I normally avoid commenting because I am fortunate to be an author on this blog. However, it appears to me Thomas Gerard proves the point Ryan is attempting to make in his first three sentences. This type of persecution proves scripture to be true. In John 15 v 18 – 23 (abr) Jesus said ” If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you. …….. if they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you……. but all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know the One Who sent Me……….he who hates Me hates My Father also.” So you see …as Christians, we rejoice at the words of Thomas Gerard because we understand we finally look different enough from the world that we can stand on the Word of God and know the secular worldview Mr. Gerard holds as his compass. If you are a Christian and you will commit to pray for Thomas, respond by saying Amen. Pour heaping coals of blessings upon him. Thank you Mr. Gerard for helping us understand how we are perceived by the world.