clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tony Dungy's compass is broken

Tony Dungy has taken up the mantle of being the moral authority on issues, but his compass needs recalibrating.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

On February 28th, 1994 then President Bill Clinton signed into law "Dont Ask, Dont Tell." DADT was written to be the bipartisan cure to the trouble that was surely to exist if homosexuals were going to serve openly in the military.

Thousands of military members were ushered out of the military from 1994 to 2011 because the military and, by default, the American government didn't believe that homosexuals were fit to serve because of whom they loved. I saw several Marines whom I served with transitioned out of the Marine Corps because they were believed to be gay. I say believed because many men and women were discharged from their service because their homosexuality, or rumored homosexuality, was a distraction; created an environment that was prejudicial to good order and discipline; and could possibly result in an attack on another service member.

Certain segments of society suggested that America's military, which is typically known for its standards of discipline in war time, would lack discipline which would result in the unfair treatment of homosexual service members.

To make a long story short, by and large, the transition from DADT to the current policy of permitted openness was uneventful. Homosexuals served beside their straight counterparts during the darkest and most unfair days of DADT, and homosexuals have played both amateur and professional sports beside their straight teammates in the non-legislated but implied social norm of being closeted.

Just three short years later, it is no longer news when a Marine returns from his combat tour and embraces his husband or boyfriend with a kiss. It was at first. It's normal now. It is no longer largely reported when a Marine brings her girlfriend to the Marine Corps Ball and dances with her on the dance floor. It was a first. It's normal now.

There once was a time when no openly homosexual athlete had been drafted by an NFL team. Hopefully soon that too will become normal. It's not now. But soon. Figures like Tony Dungy are proving to be roadblocks in that path to normalcy for homosexual athletes. Dungy's comments have rekindled a media fire what was in its last stages before being choked out. The stoker of a fire cannot say that it fears or disapproves of the smoke that he creates. Tony Dungy has done just that.

The distraction that Tony Dungy did not want for his team is the distraction that he has created for another team. For whatever reason, Tony Dungy has taken up the mantle of being the moral authority on issues. His compass for this issue isn't reading North. He should recalibrate his compass, or he will be left wandering in perpetual wrongness like those who thought that DADT was the correct policy from 1994 to 2011.