Tony Dungy, an outspoken Christian, a sports commentator, and the first African-American NFL coach to win a Super Bowl, is coming to Drew Brees’ defense.
After facing intense backlash for his comments Wednesday, Brees issued a lengthy apology, walking back his “insensitive” remarks and asking for forgiveness because his words “lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy.”
But on Thursday, Dungy, who has voiced some concerns about taking a knee during the national anthem, spoke up for Brees’ right to have an opinion.
“I don’t downgrade Drew for that,” he said. “That’s what he said. He may not totally understand. It may have been not exactly how he wanted to express it. But he can’t be afraid to say that.”
“And we can’t be afraid to say, ‘OK, Drew, I don’t agree with you, but let’s talk about this,’” Dungy continued. “We can’t just say anytime something happens that we don’t agree with, ‘I’m done with that, and I’m done with this person.’ That doesn’t make sense. We have to be better than that.”
The former NFL coach also condemned the violence taking place in the wake of the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, a white man.
Chauvin has since been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter.
“This battle is not gonna be won by demonstrating and throwing bricks through windows,” Dungy said. “It’s not gonna be won by the government saying, ‘Hey, we’re gonna bring out these weapons and dominate the streets again.’ That is not gonna fix anything.”
In a separate post, Dungy encouraged Christians to “demonstrate the qualities” of Jesus as the nation is plagued with protests and violent riots over racial injustices.
“We can’t go forward with judgmental, bitter spirits,” he said. “We need to be proactive, but do it in the spirit of trying to help make things better. And it can’t be just the African-American churches. It has to be ALL churches taking a stand and saying ‘We are going to be on the forefront of meaningful dialogue and meaningful change.’ We have to be willing to speak the truth in love but we have to recognize that we are not fighting against other people. We are fighting against Satan and his kingdom of spiritual darkness.”