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First Downs and Second Guesses

Blog #154- Febuary 1, 2018

Tony Dungy, the former Indianapolis Colts head coach and current NBC football studio analyst, has drawn some criticism nationally because he brings his strong religious beliefs into his football analysis position.  Most of the pundits state that you shouldn't mix religion with football.

Obviously, you can debate both sides of the aisle on this topic.  "Keep your religious thoughts to yourself" is one way to lend your voice to the conversation.  "Keep religion out of football?  Are you kidding me?  Football is a religion!" is also another response people can give.

Dungy answered his critics by saying that he's only repeating what a player told him.  That player was Nick Foles, the Philadephia Eagles quarterback, telling Dungy in some pre-recorded interview, that he gives all credit to God for his success this season.  Foles is the back-up quarterback to Carson Wentz, the starter.  But Wentz had his season cut short in the 12th game of the season with a knee injury.  In stepped Foles, and the Eagles rode him all the way to the Super Bowl championship.

Dungy has been praising God publicly his entire coaching career.  People should not be surprised that part of his analysis may include giving praise to God in some fashion.

Do I have a problem with it?  I'm of the sort to keep my religious beliefs out of the public eye.  I am a radio color analyst for high school basketball games, and you will never hear me give praise to God during the course of a game.  But that's me.

As far as Dungy is concerned, if his superiors at NBC have no problem with it, then no one else should have a problem with it either.


This week on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, an undergrad student took to social media to claim his belief in white supremacy.  This individual was also a participant in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past summer where neo-Nazis and white supremacists clashed with people strongly against the message of white supremacists.  There was a large gathering of Nebraska students demanding administrators expel him from campus.

Nebraska administrators claimed that the student's comments were protected under free speech and that the comments did not go against the student Code of Conduct.  But the story continues.

Members of the Husker men's basketball team thought about boycotting their game against Rutgers as a protest against this bigoted student.  They changed that approach and decided to wear t-shirts that say "Hate never wins."

The athletic director came out with a statement congratulating the team on their public stance against hatred.  I'm not sure the AD would have been as enthusiastic with his response had the team decided to boycott the game.

But I was impressed that the team took a public stance.  Since the majority of the players are black, head coach Tim Miles stated that those players have experienced hatred and prejudice for much of their lives and that the team response was a brave and courageous move by the team.

Nebraska is a very conservative state.  Heck, the state gave Donald Trump 70% of the vote in the last presidential election.  That should tell you something.  Are there bigots and white supremacists in Nebraska?  I'm sure there are.

But the majority of Nebraskans, and the vast majority of the student population at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln, are not tolerant of hate-filled speech, especially by a person saying he is going to do something violent.  

Nebraska administrators were publicly chastised by members of the Nebraska legislature last fall when a student was derided for recruiting to a conservative organization that publicly states that it keeps a database of names of professors nationwide who they consider to be liberal in their thinking.  These legislators forced the UNL administration to clarify the university's policy of free speech.

But with many students saying they are fearful of being on campus because of the racist rhetoric being spewed by this individual, I'm hopeful that administrators and campus police will be swift to respond if this man does resort to violence.

This is what is happening on campuses all over the country these days.  It's nice to see athletic teams take a public stance to renounce hatred in any form.  Hate will never win.  Let's keep it that way.

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