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ESPN's Wilbon and Kornheiser Deride the "Subculture" of Tony Dungy's Christianity

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: I think it was only yesterday on this program, in discussing the latest controversy in the NFL -- and that would be Tony Dungy telling a reporter for the Tampa Bay Tribune that he would not have drafted the openly gay linebacker from Missouri, Michael Sam, if he were still a head coach in the league.  He said (paraphrased and summarized), "I don't care. Sam should have an opportunity, fine.

"He should be given an opportunity. That's cool. No problem.  I wouldn't draft him.  I wouldn't want," as he later clarified, "the media circus." One of the things that I said yesterday in the form of a prediction... You gotta understand my impression of Dungy and his standing in the league. I think he's always been... He's occupied a very delicate position.  On the one hand, Tony Dungy is the conscience of the NFL. 

On the one hand, whenever there is a question about "the right thing to do," Tony Dungy is who they go ask.  With the media, NFL officials, Tony Dungy has achieved that status.  But the platform on which he is standing while occupying that position is very, very thin -- and, in fact, may even be made of ice because Tony Dungy is also a very public, unashamed Christian. 

That makes a lot of people... Not just in the NFL, anywhere you go where there is a preponderance of liberals, that is an automatic friction point.  So Dungy has always been, in my estimation -- look, don't doubt me on this. Just like I knew 27/30 years ago that the modern environmentalist wacko movement was actually just a new home for communists, don't doubt me on this.  I know whereof and what of and who of I speak. 

(interruption)  Well no, it's that...  What I'm saying is that the accolades Dungy gets as the conscience of the league are not very deep, because he's standing on a very thin sliver of ice as a public, witnessing Christian.  That makes anyplace where there's a preponderance of liberals very nervous.  Christianity is a profound enemy of much of liberalism, and the reason why is liberals inherently know that...

Let's put it this way.  Many liberals are liberals because they are seeking a... (sigh) They are seeking the declaration of normalcy for what they do, what they believe.  I think that they look at Christians as indoctrinated, judgmental punishers.  Christians, witnessing Christians like Tony Dungy, make liberals... I'm not just talking about lifestyle liberals.  I mean ideological liberals; I don't care who. 

"Liberals" covers a whole bailiwick of different kinds of people, and they all are made nervous, 'cause liberalism is their religion.  Remember, they claim that their religion is the one that's ultimately tolerant.  Of course, it is the least tolerant political ideology out there.  Well, if not the least, it's near the top.  They demand tolerance for whatever they do and think, but they do not tolerate anybody that disagrees with them. 

Don't doubt me on this, either. 

This is not an opinion; this is fact.  You see it every day in this country by virtue of who they attack and why, who they try to destroy and why, what institutions and traditions they're trying to destroy and why.  They're not interested in debate.  They're not interested in bipartisanship.  They're not interested in everybody getting along.  They don't want to hear it if they disagree with it.  They don't want to see it if they don't want to do it. 

So public, witnessing Christians like Dungy -- who explain their own behaviors by virtue of their Christianity, who explain their belief systems by virtue of their Christianity -- are automatic suspects.  So that's one leg Dungy's standing on.  The other leg is conscience of the league, winner, African-American, Super Bowl coach, considered to be unquestionably moral.

That is traceable to his Christianity, although they don't acknowledge that's the reason for it.  He's just a great, solid, moral guy.  But it's a very, very delicate/uneasy combination, and if one of those legs is pulled out from under Dungy, then it's all over.  He cannot be one or the other.  He has to be both at the same time.  If they are able to get rid of Dungy as the conscience of the league because over on the other leg his Christianity makes him anti-gay?

(Gasp!)

That's what they know. 

Now, Dungy up 'til now's been unassailable, unattackable, but he never did anything to anybody.  He's always stood for fairness, equality. All these things that are attached to good citizen, Tony Dungy is. Not just was, but is.  (whispering) "But there's this thing out there. He's Christian and -- and just... (sigh)" That's the unspoken part of Dungy that everybody else, all the other liberals that are in the league -- be they media, owners, whoever -- have just a little bit of unease about. 

Now, if you doubt me, grab audio sound bite number seven.  Here we have an excerpt, an audio excerpt of yesterday's Pardon the Interruption on ESPN featuring the cohost Tony Kornheiser and the cohost Michael Wilbon, who has become a golf buddy of Barack Obama, by the way.  And of course Wilbon joined the chorus of racists spreading lies about things I never said during the ill-fated period where I was said to be attempting to be in a group buying the St. Louis Rams.

He's known now as this host on ESPN and a golf buddy of Obama.  So Kornheiser, they're talking about Dungy.  Keep in mind what I just told you.  Kornheiser says, "You and I differ on this, I think.  The under-30 athlete is gonna be far more tolerant and accepting of different ideas," meaning Michael Sam in the locker room. "It's not a big deal to them, Michael."  And here's Wilbon's response.

WILBON:  I'm more skeptical.  And I think there is a component, a subculture of the religious right that --

KORNHEISER:  Yes.

WILBON:  -- is very influential in football.

KORNHEISER:  Yes.  Tony Dungy has talked about faith a number of times --

WILBON:  Yes, he has.

KORNHEISER:  -- and that he, you know, what he believes is at odds right now with Michael Sam in the locker room.

WILBON:  That's right.  And has stated lifestyle openly.

KORNHEISER:  Yeah.

WILBON:  That's why I don't think this is gonna go as smoothly as I think you think it's gonna go.

RUSH:  Well, well, well, well.  So it turns out that there is a component, a subculture of the religious right in the NFL.  Bingo, and who's he talking about?  Tony Dungy.  So the religious right is a "subculture," but the gay player, who's the only announced gay player in all of the NFL, is not the subculture?  The Christian right, the religious right, is the subculture in the NFL.  They're the guys that kneel and pray at the end of the game, makes people very nervous.  Do not doubt me on this.  You got players of both teams after the game kneeling at the 50 yard line or the middle of the field and they'll have a little prayer session. It makes a lot of people nervous. 

But this is exactly my point.  Dungy's Christianity has now been thrown out as part of this, and the religious right is a subculture of the NFL.  When you hear "subculture," what do you think of?  Do you think of something in the shadows, something less than wholesome? Do you think there's something odd about them or whatever.  They, to the liberals in the NFL and in sports, I'm just telling you, if you doubt me, just contrast all this with Tim Tebow.  

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Bensalem, Pennsylvania.  This is Sam, and it's great to have you.  Hi.

CALLER:  Hi.  How are you, Rush?

RUSH:  Very good.  Thank you.

CALLER:  Great.  It's an honor to talk to you.

RUSH:  Appreciate that.

CALLER:  I'd like to talk about the Michael Sam situation.

RUSH:  Go right ahead.

CALLER:  Okay.  I guess here's my thought.  You got 30 teams in the NFL, right?

RUSH:  Give or take.

CALLER:  Yeah.  Okay.  And they pretty much project a draft prior to the draft happening.  And my guess is that had he not come out and said he was gay, he probably would have gone in the third or even the fourth round.

RUSH:  Really?  You know, I don't know.

CALLER:  He would have gone higher than he did.

RUSH:  Well, here's the thing.  I don't know how much of this is true because there's PR and positioning, buzz, in everything that happens now.  But I think it may be the exact opposite. That if he had not come out as gay, nobody might have ever heard of him.  He might never be drafted, but the thing that I kept hearing from all the scouts, all these people doing mock drafts, Michael Sam, he just can't play at the NFL level.  Yeah, he was a Player of the Year of the SEC, but he's basically a one-position guy, and he doesn't have any lateral speed. 

I mean, I remember all the things that were being said about the guy.  Of course, this was after he came out.  Before that, my recollection of all of these mock draft guys and the scouts and these analysts doing everything was he was a long shot because he just doesn't have NFL type talent. And some people were speculating that that's exactly why he came out so as to improve his draft ability by becoming a cause.

CALLER:  Hmm.  That could be.  Again, I'm not an expert.

RUSH:  Well, I'm not either on this.  We don't really know.

CALLER:  I'm just saying that that's a possibility, that's why he did it, and that's why he fell, because he was Player of the Year at the University of Missouri.

RUSH:  Well, he was the SEC Player of the Year, but, you know, college football is a much different game that pro football.  Pro game is much more specialized.  And I remember even after the Rams selected him, some of the honest analysis right off the bat was, "Wait a minute, there's not a place on this team for this guy."  He's not big enough to play on the line, so he's gotta play in a 3-4 configuration.  He can't be a pass rushing defensive, he's not big enough.  And they said he's not fast enough to play on the edge as an outside linebacker.

He's only suited for one of those positions, but in the NFL he doesn't have quite the resume to make it work.  And the Rams seemed full of players already capable and starters at both positions.  There were some people thinking that the league was forced into a position, almost from a PR standpoint, of having to draft him.  Everybody's denied this, of course.  Having to draft him just to keep the wolves at bay and that some deal was made for the team that drafted him 'cause they can't cut him, by the same token.  So we'll see. 

I was thinking about this Dungy business. During the break there was something I remembered, and I should have remembered this earlier when I played the Michael Wilbon sound bite where he talks about the subculture of the religious right that's in the NFL.  And remember, now, Christianity is not a subculture in America; it's a dominant. Christianity is a majority of the population.  But in the NFL, the sports media, it's a subculture, see, and Dungy's a member, 'cause Dungy is a Christian.  He's a witnessing Christian, meaning he talks about it, he credits his Christianity for who he is.  This makes a lot of people nervous.  Do not doubt me on this. 

And the one thing that I could have said to buttress that that I remembered during the break, do you remember the Super Bowl between the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears? It was the first Super Bowl featuring two black head coaches.  Lovie Smith was the coach of the Bears, saddled with Rex Grossman as his QB.  Dungy was the coach of the Colts, and he had Peyton Manning.  The game was in Miami.  It rained all during the game.  It was a closer game than people thought because of the Bears defense.  It all came down to, you know, could Grossman make a play into the game. 

The Colts ended up winning.  But all during the week leading up to the game, the media kept talking about two black head coaches, first time ever.  This was a sign of great progress. This was societal progress. This was America finally becoming the nation everyone knew she could become because it was unafraid and unabashed to have two teams in the Super Bowl, the pinnacle of sports in the American population, with two black head coaches. 

The media was just orgasming over this.  They couldn't get enough of it.  It was the storyline.  It was, "Oh, what a great country. Oh, we've overcome," all of this.  Well, when they went and talked to Dungy and Lovie Smith about it, they didn't fall in line.  Dungy and Lovie Smith said, "You know, that's not what's important to us."  I don't have the exact quotes, but I could dig 'em up. 

Dungy said that the important thing was, "Yeah, we've got two black head coaches here, but two men of God. Two devoutly Christian men have risen to the pinnacle."  That was what Dungy said.  That, to him, was what was noteworthy about this Super Bowl.  He didn't relegate the racial component to irrelevancy, but it was not the most important thing to him -- and the media?

You could see they just didn't quite understand. They wanted these two guys to jump on the first two black coaches in the Super Bowl storyline and just take it all the way to end zone. They just wanted that to be the thing, the greatest thing. "Oh, wow, look at us! We're cool! Look," and the media was thinking, "Look what we made happen because we're the ones who have been pressuring these owners to hire people," the Rooney Rule and so forth.

The media said, "Look what we did," and here these two guys say, "No, we're Christians first."  I'm just telling you that that's why it is thought that there's a "subculture" of Christianity, the Christian right in the NFL. It makes people nervous.  So Dungy saying what he said about Michael Sam, the other leg that he's standing on there -- this public Christianity, devout Christian stuff -- makes people nervous.

That will help and facilitate sportswriters dumping on Dungy, 'cause they already don't like that about him.  And then if they want to, they can blame his Christianity for his views on Michael Sam and his statement that if he were a coach, he wouldn't draft him.  "Yeah..."  They probably are whispering this to each other already.  These sportswriters talk. "Yeah, you know the real reason?"

I can hear them now. 

"The real reason is he's a Christian. You know what THEY think about gays. That's why! He's not gonna say that but that's why." I guarantee that undercurrent is out there circulating, and it'll pop up. It's effervescing, and it will rise to the top, if it hasn't already.  I haven't looked. I haven't spent any time looking at every sports media outlet seeing what people are saying, that may have already been said and reached the surface. 

Anyway, Sam from Bensalem, I appreciate your call. Thank you much.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH:  Did you hear what Lovie Smith said about that Super Bowl? When he said this, you could have heard a pin drop in the media scrum that was there.  Lovie Smith said, "God has given us a perfect stage to confess our faith in Jesus Christ," and he was talking about himself and Dungy.  That, to them, was more important than the racial component.  The media wanted it to be the other thing, the racial component. 

That was their storyline.  

END TRANSCRIPT

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