Sports Spectrum Magazine Summer 2021

Tony Dungy: Media 'cannot begrudge' athletes who share faith in Christ

Tony Dungy isn’t going to apologize for talking about athletes’ Christian faith.

That’s exactly what some people wanted him to do in February after he suggested that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles may have played so well in Super Bowl LII because of the confidence he found in his beliefs. The former NFL head coach and current NBC Sports analyst said then that he was simply sharing his opinion, and now he’s reaffirming his proclamations with a reminder that he was simply doing his job.

“A lot of people said, ‘Well, you shouldn’t bring religion into it,’ and I was just reporting the facts,” Dungy said in a recent interview with CBN News. “But believe it or not, I got much more support than I did heat. So many people wrote in and said, ‘Hey, I’m glad that you said and reported on exactly what he said, and I’m glad you talked about his faith in Christ.'”

That’s why Dungy, who recently went on record to highlight the importance of a Bible in his own Pro Football Hall of Fame locker, isn’t going to apologize for what he said. In fact, if anything, the Super Bowl-winning coach embraces the opportunity to share about the faith of athletes like Foles.

“I feel like that’s one of the reasons God has me at NBC,” he said, “to be the voice for some of these Christian athletes who want to say those things.”

In Dungy’s mind, outspoken Christians — from Foles and fellow Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, to the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson and so forth — simply deserve as much of an outlet as anyone else with specific beliefs or causes.

“I think people have to understand that Christian athletes have the same ability to espouse their views as anyone else has,” he said, “and if we ask them a question [like] what is allowing them to play well and they say, ‘It’s my faith in Christ,’ or ‘It’s the Holy Spirit,’ we can’t hold that in, and we can’t begrudge them of that.”

Dungy, 62, has served as an analyst for NBC Sports since retiring from coaching after the 2008 season, his final one with the Indianapolis Colts.

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