Tony Dungy defends DeSantis appearance: ’14 yrs ago Pres Obama said the same things’
Hall of Fame head football coach Tony Dungy on Wednesday defended his appearance alongside Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) for the signing of a new law that promotes involved fatherhood in the state, comparing his advocacy on the issue to former President Obama.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Dungy, the first Black head coach to win a Super Bowl, wrote that he appeared at the event to support the state’s initiative to increase support and outreach to fathers.
“2 days ago I spoke on behalf of a Florida bill that supports dads & families and it offended some people,” Dungy said in his tweet.
Dungy posted a snippet of Obama’s quotes on the issue in 2008, during his first presidential campaign.
“14 yrs ago Pres Obama said the same things almost verbatim. I’m assuming people were outraged at him too,” Dungy added. “I am serving the Lord so I’ll keep supporting dads and families.”
Dungy, who is currently a broadcaster for NBC Sports, released a statement in support of Florida’s new law on Monday.
“This is going to be tremendous and such a good help to fathers in Florida,” Dungy said. “This bill is so important. I want to thank all of the men and women that have been behind this.”
He added it would allow organizations, like the nonprofit he founded called All Pro Dad, “do great things for our fathers here in Florida.”
Keith Olbermann, a political pundit and former ESPN anchor, tweeted that he had worked with Dungy and his “reputation is not spotless,” calling him a “bad role model. Hateful to LGBTQ and a bad teammate.”
Dungy began his NFL head coaching career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before winning a Super Bowl with the Indianapolis Colts.
He received a slew of criticism from liberal pundits for his appearance at DeSantis’s news conference, with some recalling controversial comments Dungy made in 2014, when he said he would not have drafted then-University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam, who is openly gay, because of the distraction it could cause.
Florida’s law directs $70 million in funding to educational and mentorship programs to help children, fathers, and families in the state.
Former NFL player Jack Brewer, who was also at the bill signing with Dungy, applauded DeSantis for the new state law.
“This is a crisis in America, today,” Brewer said in a statement. “Governor DeSantis is setting an example the entire country needs to follow. With bills like this and leaders like the men here behind me, we can change this nation.”