Last Updated on January 21, 2023
Hall of Fame NFL coach Tony Dungy announced on Wednesday that he would be attending the annual March for Life in the nation’s capital, much to the dismay of traditionally left-leaning sports journalists. The Super Bowl-winning coach stated that he would be attending to “support those unborn babies who don’t have a voice.”
Dungy — who was part of Super Bowl-winning teams as both a player and coach — ultimately addressed the crowd with a brief statement on the power of prayer on Friday.
The former Indianapolis Colts head coach referenced the disturbing incident that took place during a pivotal primetime clash between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals in which Bills’ defensive-back Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field. “It’s amazing to me that God actually used football to shine some light on the subject of life for all of us,” Dungy said.
After Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on the field, he was immediately surrounded by players from both teams who prayed for his recovery on national television.
“It could have been tragic, but something miraculous happened. The team medical staff rushed out and they got Damar’s heart started again. But you know what? That wasn’t a miracle. The real miracle was the reaction,” Dungy said.
“The announcers on the broadcast, what did they say? ‘All we can do is pray,’” he continued. “And all across the country, people started praying.”
The Hall of Fame coach went on to state that the NFL had warned him not to allow his players to pray on the field at numerous points throughout his long career. “The Bills players prayed right on the spot. Now usually when that happens, the cameras cut away from them. Because we don’t like to see that,” Dungy said.
“Back when I was coaching in the 1990s, a few Christian players got together and they said we want to pray after the games. And we actually got a memo from the NFL office that said, ‘Don’t let your players do that. If you do, you’ll be fined. Because that’s not appropriate.’ Can you believe that? That’s a true story,” he continued.
Dungy, who addressed the crowd along with his wife, Lauren, went on to say that the nation needs to pray for the unborn the same way they prayed for Damar Hamlin. “Every day in this country, innocent lives are at stake. The only difference is they don’t belong to a famous athlete. And they’re not seen on national TV. But those lives are still important to God and in God’s eyes,” Dungy said.
“Psalm 139 tells us that God is watching every one of these young bodies as they’re growing in their mother’s womb, because he placed them there. Now we know that there are a lot of people in this country that don’t believe, that don’t see these babies as being important. They don’t even see them as lies,” he continued.
“I think we have to take a lesson from Damar’s story. We have to pray. We need to pray with the same fervor that we prayed with during that week. Because God answers prayer and he will answer these prayers to save these precious unborn lives as we go forward. So if we do our part, we will save more and more of these lives,“ he concluded.
The legendary coach’s decision to attend the March for Life was met with backlash by traditionally leftist sports media outlets. Ben Zirin, who serves as a sports editor for The Nation, penned an editorial titled, “Tony Dungy Is a Right-Wing Zealot and the NFL and NBC Don’t Care.”
“He said publicly and proudly that he would not want gay football player Michael Sam on his team. He said over a decade ago that he disagreed with the ‘lifestyle’ of Jason Collins, the first out active male gay player in the main four North American sports,” Zirin wrote. “This is a Dungy staple, calling being LGBT a ‘lifestyle,’ even after people have said to him repeatedly how hurtful and outdated such a description is.”
Dungy faced backlash from the same critics last year when he appeared with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis at an event promoting fatherhood.