Fall 2021 SS Magazine

Coach Tony Dungy cites Scripture to improve race relations: 'Overcome evil with good'

Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy joined “The Fan Morning Show” in Pittsburgh this week to share his thoughts about the recent events involving George Floyd’s death while in police custody, and the protests it has sparked throughout the country.

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Dungy, the first African-American head coach to win a Super Bowl, said true change will come only when families make racial reconciliation a priority at home and individuals make it a priority in their own spheres of influence. That is no less true for athletes.

“When we have situations like this, athletes have a big role,” Dungy said. “They have a big voice, and we can step up and be part of the solution. We can be empathetic.”

Dungy spent nearly 30 years in coaching, including as the head coach at Tampa Bay from 1996-2001 and Indianapolis from 2002-2008. With Indianapolis, he helped lead Peyton Manning and the Colts to their Super Bowl XLI triumph. He said the camaraderie of an NFL locker room between players of all races should be an example for American society.

“The thing about a locker room and a team is great teams, you come together and you put those differences beside you,” Dungy said. “You communicate and you still have that brotherhood, that love of each other, that goes beyond how I think about a certain situation.”

Dungy has long been outspoken about his faith in Christ, even as an active head coach. He turned to God in the face of the saddening and sometimes frightening events of recent weeks, and he said it is imperative for every believer to help heal the United States’ racial tension.

“We’ve got to do a better job of listening,” Dungy said. “I think that is the key in all of this. We’ve got to listen. And you know what? I have to call out the churches too. Where are the white churches in this? I’m a Christian, and I feel like as a representative of Christ, I have an obligation to speak up and I have an obligation to help wherever I see it needed. I think we’ve got to come together and do that.”

He added, “It’s not just a black problem. It’s not a white problem. It’s not an inner-city problem. It’s not a governmental problem. It’s our problem and we gotta solve it.”

Yet Dungy is not without hope. He ended the radio conversation with a piece of simple Biblical encouragement for listeners to think about:

“You guys asked, what can we do to keep this going? One of the quotes I’ve used these last couple of weeks from the Bible, ‘Don’t let evil overcome us. We have to overcome evil with good'” (Romans 12:21).

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