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Wrong Message: Colts Coach Dungy Slated To Appear At Right-Wing Banquet

Approval1_4There's been a story buzzing 'round the blogs these past few weeks about Colts coach Tony Dungy's scheduled appearance at the Indiana Family Institute's "2007 Friends of the Family Banquet" next month. TDW will admit that she was really wrapped up in the Colts' Super Bowl journey while all this was unfolding, so she's playing catch-up after the fact.

Now that all the football drama is over, it's time to have a serious discussion about Dungy's plans to appear at this event.

Jim Shella writes on his blog:

"Memo to Tony Dungy: Sports is easy. You win or you lose. Politics can be more complicated.

"The Colts coach plans to appear at an upcoming fundraiser for the Indiana Family Institute. Because that organization supports the constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage now under consideration in the Indiana General Assembly, his appearance is suddenly the source of criticism. (The higher your profile, the more likely you are to face political scrutiny.)

"At least one website accuses Dungy of supporting an 'anti-gay organization.'

"There is no evidence, meantime, that the coach is aware of the group's agenda."

There's no question that Tony Dungy is a deeply religious man with deep religious convictions, but it sure looks from the invitation like he's showing up as a representative of the Colts. Given the Family Institute's neverending right-wing nutballery and the fact that this story is making its way from blogs to the mainstreamers, it might behoove the Colts to nip this in the bud.

Ironically, after Indiana University football coach Terry Hoeppner caught crap for agreeing to speak at a Senate Republicans fundraiser in November 2005, it was the Colts who offered up a substitute to assuage the political outcry.

The argument in that case was that a taxpayer-funded university shouldn't be perceived as taking sides. In the case of the Family Institute event, the issue is whether the Colts marketing types want their brand associated with a bevy of extremist goofballs.

Your thoughts?

Comments

So what if Dungy shows up explicity as a rep of the Colts (which to, me he isn't)? Irsay is a "deeply religous" man as well, and IFI may line up with both Irsay and Dungy's sensibilities.

So, people in Indiana are suddenly going to stop loving a Superbowl-champion team because of a public appearance by the coach? That's a stretch.

"Ironically, after Indiana University football coach Terry Hoeppner caught crap for agreeing to speak at a Senate Republicans fundraiser in November 2005, it was the Colts who offered up a substitute to assuage the political outcry.

The argument in that case was that a taxpayer-funded university shouldn't be perceived as taking sides."

David Orentlicher works for Indiana University, a taxpayer-funded university. David is an elected rep. Everytime he votes, he takes a side. I am pretty sure he votes on the budget, which includes how much money IU gets. Ditto for many others, a handful of whom work for Ivy Tech.

What is wrong with speaking at an event that might support one side or another? Can't be any worse than an actual employee voting on how much money their tax-payer funded employeer gets.

"The argument in that case was that a taxpayer-funded university shouldn't be perceived as taking sides."

How about a taxpayer-funded team?

Indiana would be better off if we used eminent domain on the Colts and made it a public business like it is in Green Bay.

"...it sure looks from the invitation like he's showing up as a representative of the Colts."

No it doesn't. This isn't a flyer saying "Coach Dungy WANTS YOU to support SJR 7". It says we are having a banquet honoring Coach Dungy.

Hm... this is their annual fund-raising dinner-- not a special banquet to honor the coach. It was put out way before they won the AFC championship, let alone the Super Bowl. And the coach is pictured in Colts attire from the sidelines.

It's clear to me: A)the coach agrees with the IFI's intents and purposes and wants to support them B) he doesn't know their whole agenda and needs to be educated or C) he's being used by the right-wing Christians and needs to put his foot down. In any case, Dungy needs to "come out" amd make it clear.

This is a case of brand management more than anything. If the Colts and Dungy are okay with this image, then so be it, but I can't imagine why they'd risk alienating fans over something like this.

Why does he need to make it clear, About Time?

Shella excuses Dungy with: "There is no evidence, meantime, that the coach is aware of the group's agenda."

Bulls**t!

Anyone who headlines a fundraiser is by definition a supporter of the cause benefiting from said fundraiser.

Dungy knows darn well what the group's agenda is. He doesn't live on another planet! Everyone knows what the Indiana Family Institute is (homophobic, sexist, intolerant, holier than thou etc.).

Dungy seems to think prayer is going to keep his Colts from acting like the Pacers, and "all this nutballery" is just part and parcel of the same misguided effort.

Yeah-- you know there aren't any gays watchin' football-- heck are there even any gays outside Massachusetts Avenue and Lockerbie?

Funny thing is-- when on www.gay.com chat on Super Bowl Sunday-- or ANY football Sunday-- the only main topic was the Colts. Gays and lesbians are part of the community too... and we were BLUE as much as anyone else.

By the way, does Dungy not like his Jewish, Mormon, Moslem, Hindu, agnostic and atheist fans either.. cause the overwhelming pro-evangelical Christianity in his TV statements smacks of "you're not welcome here." Maybe any taxpayer who can prove he/she is not the right religion can avoid paying for Lucas... NAH....

Good by Tony. You are one of them.

What is the problem here? If Dungy was a gay hindu (if there is such a thing) outspoken coach, would I feel like there wasn't room for me to be a Colts fan since I am a straight christian? This whole thread STINKS of intolerance. I guess tolerance only applies if a person agrees with you? Give the guy a break. You know he is an evangelical christian. You know homosexuality is considered a sin by all but a few fringe groups who consider themselves evangelical christian. You also know he is the coach of the World Champion Indy Colts, a title he can't avoid even he tried. So why would it surprise you that he would want to speak at a group that believes the way he does personally? Do you really think people will believe the entire Colts franchise believes the exact way he does? What do you think will happen at this event, he'll encite the crowd to go out and lynch a homosexual? Give the guy a break! Believe it or not, there are a lot of Hoosiers that don't believe homosexuals should be allowed to marry based on religious/moral grounds. It is OK to disagree with these people, but we should ALWAYS defend their right to speak and act on their beliefs...or we could just take the razor knofe to the 1st amendment.

When did the whole, "I-don't-agree-with-your-politics-so-I-hate-you" attitude begin? From the Dixie Chicks to Coach Dungy, it's just stupid.

Wonder how his gay players feel about this? I know they have to have some. Out of 55 players more then like at least two of them are gay.

When Tony says "God" he is speaking of a supreme entity. All religions have a supreme entity. Now if he would of thanked Jesus for his victories that would make me feel uncomfortable.

He should really stay away from this event. As a franchise that wants all to enjoy he should just ride the line of indifferentcy.

"Your thoughts?"

It's not illegal. And you wouldn't be complaining if a Colt did this for Peterson's reelect committee.

Right?

I keep saying it in comments, whenever this is discussed -- IFI is a political organization, not a religious one. We're not questioning Dungy's religious beliefs, (which he is welcome to) but his political ones.

And the IFI's primary goal, no matter what they say, is promoting discrimination against gay people.

Who is the judge of what a group truly stands for?

Not you.

Leave Tony alone.

"We're not questioning Dungy's religious beliefs, (which he is welcome to) but his political ones."

So...you're saying he's not welcome to have his own political beliefs?

"Who is the judge of what a group truly stands for?"

Actually, we all are. We're the public. This is about perception.

I never said he shouldn't do it; I merely pointed out that it's a bad message for the franchise to send.

Larry Bird at a Klan rally would be inappropriate although it's well within within his rights of free speech. Tony Dungy's supporting publicly an extremist rightwing group like those Dobson folk in Indiana is also inappropriate. Football franchises like to keep out of controversy - Tony's tawdry fundraising is polarizing - it's not good business!

"I keep saying it in comments, whenever this is discussed -- IFI is a political organization, not a religious one. We're not questioning Dungy's religious beliefs, (which he is welcome to) but his political ones."

This may be hard for you to believe, but my religious beliefs affect my political beliefs. When Jesus is Lord of your life as he is for Coach Dungy, you can't segregate your political views from your religious convictions.

It is not discrimination to believe and lobby for the belief that marriage is and always will be between a man and a woman. You have to keep in mind that long before government recognized the institution of mariage, it was a religious institution defined not by popular opinion but by God. (See Genesis 2:23-25 and Ephesians 5:31-33)
The government recognizes the institution as the foundation of society and a necessary part of any society that intends to maintain itself.


If you think supporting a ban on same-sex marriage is rightwing extremist, you are mistaken based upon the number of states that have adopted such amendments and the margin by which they were adopted.

Hahahahhahaahahahaaaaaa!!!!!!

Wake up, Wagner.

Just because you pay for the team doesn't mean you get to say a thing about how the team manages its affairs or how its staff conducts their personal lives.

Football attracts some of the most conservative people there are.

Sounds like you just figured out that buying a stadium didn't buy you much.

From the sound of this organization, it seems they stand for all the right things.

Now keep forking over your money to Conservative millionaires -- and like it.

Many of the above arguments have merit, and this is a truly close call.

But here's the rub, and it's a big one:

The Colts (and Pacers too, for that matter) exist in large part because taxpayers have subsidized the team(s) big-time.

I doubt Tony knew the IFI's agenda was this political. If he supports what they do, he can send a personal contribution.

His personal appearance, as a coach partially subsidized by taxpayers, is inappropriate, and Irsay should tell him so.

The reflected glow IFI will get from this event is unfortunate. It implies that the NFL endorses their bigotry and simple-minded views. They're entitled to their pea-brains.

I just don't think they should be able to use taxpayer-subsidized professional athletes to do it.

Again, it is a close call. But we gay football fans, and there are a ton of us, have every reason to question this misuse of public adoration.

Frankly, it's just tacky.

Jen, I am unfamiliar with this group, so please inform me. Are they extremist goofballs, and right-wing nutballery for supporting same-sex marriages, or other reasons?

Time out.

Football teams, players and coaches are not taxpayer subsidized! We don't pay their salary!

Yes, part of your taxes goes to pay for a venue in which they play. But, part of your taxes also go to any business that wishes to locate in Indiana via tax incentives, infrastructure improvements, etc.

So, if you are arguing Dungy shouldn't be allowed to do this based on his relationship to the taxpayer, you are also arguing that no upper management employee of any company should be able to do so either.

I actually doubt Coach Dungy has any idea what these guys are about.

As far as condemning his appearance, I just said it makes the Colts look narrow-minded and suggested that they might want to do something about that.

It's one thing to send a VP to a Senate Republicans fundraiser; it's another thing to send one of the most public representatives of the team to a gathering of wedge issue types.

Brian -- What is IFI? Go on their website (http://hoosierfamily.org) and decide for yourself.

snippet one:
>>Throughout its 16 year history, the Indiana Family Institute has sought to bring Biblical values and Biblical ethics to the public policy making process in Indiana. To this end, we have opposed all efforts to create or advance special civil or legal rights for homosexuals.>Our objective is two-fold:
Preserve pro-family policy already within State Government and push for additional policies that will strengthen Indiana families.
We work with Churches, lay leaders, government, groups and organizations to promote and implement effective marriage ministry and marriage enrichment programs.<<

As the blog that broke this story, I'd like to tell Brian about the IFI. This is a group that is sponsored by the American Family Association and their nutjob leader Don Wildmon. They are about as extremist rightwing as you can get.

Some of the AFA (and IFI's highlights):

1. IFI claims that "Jesus would discriminate" against gays and lesbians. They claim he discriminated all the time. When it was pointed out that he discriminated only against religious hypocrites, they had no reply.

2. AFA - Pushes attempt to get "Ellen" canceled when she came out of the closet for "pushing the homosexual agenda."

3. AFA - Pushes to get the National Endowment for the Arts canceled.

4. AFA - Promotes a boycott of Ford because the company has advertised in gay magazines.

5. AFA - Promoted boycotts of JC Penny, Clorox and SC Johnson Co for advertising on "Will and Grace."

These folks don't just want gays and lesbians not to get married. They want gays and lesbians back in the closet with no political power and no friends or allies. They literally want LGBT folk to disappear.

Here in Indiana, they sent 3 delegates to the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where SJR-7 was being heard. (SJR-7 is the proposed amendment to the Constitution to ban same-sex marriage and all other rights we might enjoy - hospital visitation, civil unions, domestic partner benefits, domestic violence protections, inheritance rights, etc.) Their main speaker's quotes included calling us "perverts and abominations" as versus "people and citizens."

Yeah - they're FAR right wing. By Tony appearing in full Colts regalia, he is sending the message that he (and the Colts) fully endorse their positions. With thousands of LGBT and LGBT friendly fans around the nation, is this the message the Colts want to send? That they agree that some of their fans are "perverts" and that family and friends of gay people are "enablers?"

From the AVA's own site: "About two months ago AFA learned that our website had been blocked by CyberPatrol, the most popular Internet filtering software, on the grounds of "intolerance" for our opposition to the homosexual movement. The category was previously reserved for Nazis and Klansmen."

Yeah - good company, Tony.

"is this the message the Colts want to send?That they agree that some of their fans are "perverts"?"

Gay or not...many football fans are perverts.

The Colts and the Pacers are absolutely taxpayer-subsidized teams.

There's only a lie that says otherwise. The taxpayers of Indy make direct payments to each team. Check the City budget.

It's time to eminent domain the teams.

I really didn't know what they stood for, but after seeing Bil's points 1-5, I think I'll cut them a check.

I'm glad my tax dollars for the Colts are finally being used for something I agree with.

I'm as big a Colts fan as they come. I will continue to be no matter what political affiliations the people have (Manning made large donations to W).

I do however lose respect for the individuals when they side with the Jonestown nutcases.

Personally, I could care less what gays do or don't do. None of my business, just as my relationships are none of theirs.

Given the recent trends in the Evangelical Movement, IFI's leaders and all the outspoken blogger-posters supporting the "gay" marriage ban are probably gay too.

You own the stadium, not the players or coach. Some liberals just don't understand the First Amendment. It's OK in the mind of TDW for Bart Peterson to absorb the limelight at the Colts stadium after the Bowl victory (during an election year), but not OK for Dungy to vote, have political views, etc.

This is sadly typical liberalthink when it comes to Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Association.

Dungy has evry right to attend, and the Democratic State committee has every right to make fools of themselves and attack Tony Dungy for an extracurricular activity NOT made on behalf on the franchise.

Prediction: Backlash against Dungy's critics.

TDG


"The Colts and the Pacers are absolutely taxpayer-subsidized teams.There's only a lie that says otherwise. The taxpayers of Indy make direct payments to each team. Check the City budget.

"It's time to eminent domain the teams."

I have a hard time believing what this person says when they think government can simply "eminent domain" (did you know that was a verb?) an entity into their control.

"Some liberals just don't understand the First Amendment."

Sugar, I'm not saying he doesn't have the right to do what he's doing. I'm just saying it looks bad.

See also: Dubya has the right to send our troops to die at war. But it makes him look bad.

It's not an attack to question someone's actions. Reference aforementioned First Amendment. They're not just your rights, darlin'.

I don't think ANYONE on this thread is NOT a true blue Colts fan...

That being said, I think TDW is correct to point out that Tony and the Colts should really think before they meet with a group like that. This isn't the Rotary Club.

I hate the f-ing Colts.

Yet Mitch and Bart force me to subsidize the teams.


Right back at ya, sugar. I know TDW understands the FA. Not sure about your flock.

That is why I said this:

"Dungy has every right to attend, and the Democratic State committee has every right to make fools of themselves and attack Tony Dungy for an extracurricular activity NOT made on behalf on the franchise."

Unless you know something I don't, the Democratic State Central Committee hasn't attacked anyone.

Again, it's okay to question someone's decision-making process. In fact, it's imperative.

Would Tony Dungy be appearing in front of this group were he not the head coach of the Colts? His position makes him a draw. And that's just fine, as long as his employer doesn't mind scuffing up its image a little bit.

"I never said he shouldn't do it; I merely pointed out that it's a bad message for the franchise to send."

Only bad if the franchise does not agree with it. If the franchise does agree with it, than it is good.

In your eyes, the message is bad. That is the problem. To some, this is bad. To others, this is good.

"His personal appearance, as a coach partially subsidized by taxpayers, is inappropriate, and Irsay should tell him so."

Sorry, you can't use this sort of logic. When I tried to fight the tax based on simple fairness, the answer from the rabid Colts fans was "If you don't want to pay, don't eat out." Well, they were right. No one is forcing you to pay one dime for this stadium. No one forced you to pay one dime for the old stadium either (a tax that then went on to build Conseco, and the baseball field).

"This is sadly typical liberalthink when it comes to Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Association."

Isn't it a rabid liberal that wants to bring back the Fairness Doctrine?

"When I tried to fight the tax based on simple fairness, the answer from the rabid Colts fans was "If you don't want to pay, don't eat out." Well, they were right."

No, they aren't right. Feeding oneself is a fundamental right.

The next step for the arrogant is to say "you can eat at home?" Of course, that's not possible for everyone, and for many who do eat at home, the food was first purchased at a restaurant. "Let them eat cake" is a similar exhortation.

The Colts, their fans, Bart and Mitch are stealing money from taxpayers. There's no way around that.

When someone says "I'm a Colts fan," the proper response should be "f--k you, too."

The majority of the Colts fans are not in Marion County. These fans haven't had their pockets picked for 25 years to support multi-millionaire owners and players. As long as it's on somebody else's dime, they're all for the billions of dollars spent on sports teams. Question: What has this huge amount of money spent ever done for the average Marion County taxpayer? Aren't there children in Marion County who go to bed hungry every night? White River is still an open sewer. We don't have an adequate transportation system. The schools are not funded properly. I want to know how my life has improved because this enormous amount of money has been taxed away from me.

Good thoughts, 7:36. Indy has also spent millions upon millions of taxpayer dollars to bring the Final Four to Indy, all under the belief that it will help Indy.

Where's the payoff?

Sports subsidies are just welfare for the rich that do nothing for the city and take the city's focus away from what it should be doing.

"The majority of the Colts fans are not in Marion County. These fans haven't had their pockets picked for 25 years to support multi-millionaire owners and players."

You have no f***ing clue what you are talking about 7:36. The only tax you have had to pay to the Colts/pacers/etc. is when you eat out...which is what almost every single Colts fan does when they come to a game. This tax actually makes sense sense the majority of the burden is borne by out-of-towners instead of Marion Co. residents.

And as far as the benefit these teams have given to Indy, ask the average retailer/restaurant owner/small business owner/bar owner/parking garage owner/gas station in Indy if they could survive if it weren't for the crowds brought in by these sporting events. I know I spend hundreds each trip I take downtown for an event. Do you really think the downtown renovation ofthe '80's would have happened if it weren't for downtown sporting events? Do these downtown businesses give back to Marion County via taxes and jobs? Hell yea! If you really think Marion Co. is bad now, take the sports teams away, fast forward 5 years and realize how dumb your ideas are.

Do our sports teams cost a lot to maintain? YES. Is the average Marion taxpayer better off as a result? YES.

"I want to know how my life has improved because this enormous amount of money has been taxed away from me."

You know that mile square in the middle of your city, that is what the stadiums have done for you. If Marion Co. wants the stadiums and everything that come with them, then shouldn't they pay the bulk of them? Don't blame out-of-county residents for your idiot mayor giving away the golden egg. He was so worried about his legacy being "the mayor that lost the Colts" that he gave Ir$ay anything he wanted. There is no way Ir$ay should be getting a dime of non-Colt event spending at the new stadium. Ir$ay should have never been given naming rights either.

Dungy can speak in front of whomever he pleases, unless there is something in his contract preventing it. And if the gays don't like it, so be it. Who cares. I am tired of them whining about being a minority, when their claim relates to their sexuality. They whine about people legislating about what they do in the bedroom, yet they are the ones wanting so-called rights based on what they do in the bedroom. Sorry, you can't make a request based on your sexual predilection and not expect a reaction from those who disagree - and who have the right to disagree.

The recent celebration of "Isn't it great to have two African-American coaches in the Super Bowl?!" is what really sticks in my craw in this debate.

We can point to this cause for celebration of inclusion and diversity, but in the same breath, we're forced to confront Coach Dungy's support of an ignorant, prejudiced, dangerous group -- a group, I might add, that's advocating for an amendment to the Indiana Constitution that even the amendment's author can't explain in his testimony.

It would be great to celebrate inclusion and diversity -- it's too bad that we can't say that we're really all that far.

I couldn't agree more with TDW on this one: those groups are the christianist version of Bin Laden's Islam.

Mongolian BBQ,
You are a poorly informed bigotted liberal.

Oh no's. Its attack of the Christianity people from outer space. What are we gonna do, when they come for you?

heh

This blog sucks log.

[quote]The argument in that case was that a taxpayer-funded university shouldn't be perceived as taking sides.[/quote]

Horsepucky. What do they think allowing students to do on-Campus antiAmerican protests amounts to if not "taking sides" ?

One thing nice about the whining Leftie Liberals: You can always spot one because of the drivel and drool coming out of his/her big mouth.

Lucky for you Mr.Dungy isn't a Muslim, otherwise you'd looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life. But he's a black, Christian conservative so he fair game for the likes of you and the rest of your ilk.

TDW, sometimes I wonder whether you have more Republican readers or Democratic readers...

"Lucky for you Mr.Dungy isn't a Muslim, otherwise you'd looking over your shoulder for the rest of your life."

Huh?

"TDW, sometimes I wonder whether you have more Republican readers or Democratic readers..."

The Republican trolls think they can put me out of business by taking over the comment sections. I'd still put money on more Democratic readers.

"Mongolian BBQ,
You are a poorly informed bigotted liberal."

And U think U can hide, coward.

Liberal? As much as any other Jesuit!

It is "bigoted" my son...

"don't be nice to the help" shame on you!

Well TDW, is their MO: shooting from the hip and wounding their own foot...

Christianists are just like that, full of shit, godless and greed driven.

I still wonder why they hate God and America.

They hate people who question them.

Yeah 'cause they think they are God, other times they think they are Elvis and even think they are right!

A severe case of group-schizophrenia

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