Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mitch Perry Report 7.22.14: Tony Dungy's comment on Michael Sam reverberates

Posted By on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 at 8:01 AM

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Yesterday in Washington, President Obama signed an executive order that would prohibit  discrimination against gay men, lesbians and bisexuals at companies that do work for the federal government. It also for the first time explicitly protects federal workers based not just on sexual orientation but also on gender identity, meaning transgender employees.

It came a couple of days after former Tampa Bay Buccaneer coach and now NBC Sunday Night Football analyst Tony Dungy replied, "I wouldn't have taken him," to the Tampa Tribune's Ira Kaufman re drafting Michael Sam, the first openly gay man attempting to play in the NFL. Dungy said he wouldn't want to deal with the distractions in the locker room that Sam's presence could bring to the St. Louis Cardinals this summer, as Sam attempts to win a job on that team.

That comment has prompted some to say he's at best a hypocrite, and at worse, homophobic.

Hypocrite in the respect that Dungy was a champion of bringing Michael Vick back into the league after he was imprisoned for 18 months for dogfighting. Homophobic because this is hardly the first time the coach's comments have alienated the LGBT community — the most famous being in 2007 when he came out in support of a ban on same-sex marriages in Indiana. 

“Talent is not a distraction,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told the Washington Post yesterday. “Michael Sam is first and foremost an excellent football player. That Tony Dungy can only see Michael Sam for his sexual orientation reflects how far out of touch Dungy has fallen with the NFL, which values a player because of his skill, not because of who he loves.”

Dungy's comment is reverberating around sports talk radio today, and it's inevitable that he'll be asked to elaborate on his comments to the Trib. (Incidentally, when asked for comment this morning, Bucs coach Lovie Smith would only say, "Tony's a man of conviction."). Stay tuned for more on this.....

If you study polls, same-sex marriage is supported across the board, and not just by Democrats. So even though he ran a pretty conservative race for Congress back in March, 41-year-old David Jolly's announcement that he supports same-sex marriage perhaps shouldn't be so surprising. But when you consider that only 7 other Republicans in Congress have said the same thing, well, it does make him stand out.

The HART board in Tampa met for over three hours yesterday, and there was a lot of discussion about the pros and cons of the currently constituted agency being taken over by the Hillsborough County Commission and the mayors of three of its biggest cities. The upshot is that the current board will vote on that proposal next month.

For whatever reason, Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is indignant about those ads airing on cable TV calling on businesses to relocate to New York state.  So he wrote a nasty letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo about it last week. A spokesman for Cuomo says for a CFO, Atwater's got a problem with some basic math.


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