NFL analyst Tony Dungy has taken some criticism for his expressed opinions about Michael Sam, but in a triple-play of meta-conservatism, Matt Walsh, Bristol Palin, and Sarah Palin have spoken in support, not only of Dungy’s right to his opinion, but of the opinion itself.
Walsh started the run, Bristol picked up the ball, and Sarah ran it over to her four million Facebook fans, all decrying the unfair folks who are calling Tony Dungy out for saying he’d make his hypothetical coaching decision on a player’s demographics rather than his football skills.
First, the post on the Matt Walsh Blog hit one thing on the head. Folks can agree with Tony Dungy, or disagree. Folks can call the statement bigoted, unfair, inappropriate, and that’s within the realm of discourse, but bringing Dungy’s son’s suicide into it is inappropriate and uncalled for.
Second, Walsh calls Michael Sam a ‘not very good’ player, which flies in the face of what his college teammates and coach have said (and isn’t relevant to what Dungy said, really.)
Third, Walsh centers his argument around the idea that Tony Dungy is being treated unfairly, because, according to Walsh, we’re living in a world where the only way not to be labeled a bigot is to “worship at [gay people’s] feet.”
There’s a wide chasm between saying that someone’s sexual orientation is very specifically the reason you wouldn’t hire them and simply not kissing their toes, but over on Patheos, Bristol Palin picked up the thread in her blog, with what appears to be an attempt to remain neutral, but a clear defense of Tony Dungy despite that.
“But Walsh goes on to say that leftists began to lecture Coach Dungy about… wait for it… civil rights. Matt helpfully points out that Coach Dungy is black, while his would-be sermonizers are white guys.”
It’s not clear whether white men aren’t supposed to care about equal rights or whether Palin and Walsh think that only opinions expressed by white people can be bigoted, but clearly they feel that this is a grand irony.
Finally, Sarah Palin piled on, with the most unbelievable defense of Tony Dungy of all:
“And, by the way, I think I know my gay friends well enough to know that not one of them would take offense with Coach Dungy’s commonsense comments. In fact, from what they’ve told me, they’re as sick and tired of the intolerant, politically correct thought police as I am.”
So, since Sarah Palin knows gay people who don’t think it’s offensive that Dungy would use sexual preference as a hiring meter, no one should be offended by it, or find it inappropriate or unacceptable.
All in all, though, Michael Sam’s response may be the most relevant point:
“Thank God he wasn’t the St. Louis Rams coach.”
While the sports commentator and analyst might have an opinion many see as bigoted, he only expressed it. He didn’t use it to oppress anyone, or to discriminate anyone (even if he did say he would have, had he been in the position to do so.)
Tony Dungy isn’t an NFL coach, this story is not a case of him engaging in discriminatory hiring practices, and Michael Sam is on a team, so from here forward, Sam’s performance is going to matter a lot more than Dungy’s opinions.
[Photos: Twitter and Bing]