RUSH: CBS News Pittsburgh. This is the, “Uh-oh!” I have it right here. It’s a Pittsburgh.CBSlocal.com report: “Former Pittsburgh Steeler defensive coordinator, NFL head coach, and NBC analyst Tony Dungy is making headlines after reportedly saying he wouldn’t have drafted Michael Sam because he is gay, and wouldn’t want to ‘deal with it.’
“Dungy told the Tampa Bay Times that he wouldnÂ’t have taken Sam, ‘Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it.’ Michael Sam is a former Missouri linebacker, SEC player of the year, and openly gay. He was drafted in the 7th round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis [Lambs]. Dungy told the paper, ‘ItÂ’s not going to be totally smooth … things will happen.'”
Things are getting ready to happen right now, if this is true. I mean, it says the word “report” in here. “After reportedly saying,” and it says, “Dungy told the Tampa Bay Times that he wouldnÂ’t have taken Sam, ‘Not because I don’t believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn’t want to deal with all of it,'” meaning the Rams are not a football team this season.
They are a social experiment.
That’s what he means. Well, I don’t want to put words in his mouth. It’s just gonna be a constant… The media presence is gonna be there, and no matter what decision the coaching staff makes about Sam — whether he plays or not, whether he gets cut or not — it’s all gonna be held up through the prism of, “Is it because he’s gay?” Like if he gets cut — which I don’t think he can be.
I, frankly, just… I don’t think anything’s in writing but I don’t think he can get cut. Let’s say he is. Can you imagine? Sportswriters are dumber and more liberal than their news counterparts, and they’re gonna be out there. The story is gonna be from, “Was he cut because he’s gay? Was he drafted ’cause he’s gay just so the goodwill could accrue to the league, and now they’re saying he can’t play?
“They knew he shouldn’t play! Should he have never been drafted in the first place? Was it all a publicity stunt?” That will be one angle. Another angle will be related to, “Okay, maybe he can’t play, maybe he’s good as a backup, maybe he can’t start, but why cut him? Why can’t they make the statement of keeping the first openly gay player in the league?” It’s just not gonna end, and there’s no right move that the league or the Lambs can make.
It’s like when there was a dearth of African-American head coaches, and then that was ameliorated somewhat with a number of them being hired. Well, you get hired to get fired in the NFL. So many African-American coaches, after being hired, were then fired. And there was not a cacophony of charges of discrimination against black coaches after they were hired because teams could respond:
“Hey, hey, hey, hey! What do you mean discrimination? We hired the guy,” and that pretty much held sway. That ruled the roost. But, now, if Michael Sam gets cut, and the Rams… Look, I don’t even want to get into this, and I have nothing to do with it. But if he gets cut? Whew! They better have a lot of tape. He better play in all four preseason games. They better have the evidence that he’s cut because he just can’t make it, if that’s the case.
I’m not saying he can’t. I don’t know what’s gonna happen. What Dungy is referring to is these eagle eyes that are gonna be on this, and this is no longer about a football team in the NFL. It’s a social experiment. He’s just saying, if the report is accurate, he wouldn’t want to deal with the distraction of it all as a coach. It’s not that he doesn’t think Sam should get an opportunity.
Now, Tony Dungy… Speaking moral authority, Tony Dungy has it. Tony Dungy, in the NFL today, is the go-to guy for the right answer to every controversial question. He has earned that. Everybody wants to know what Tony thinks. You know, “What would Jesus do?” What would Dungy do? What does Dungy think? He has achieved that lofty perch in the NFL. That’s why this story is gonna be, “Uh-oh!”
RUSH: Anyway, a couple of snarky e-mails. “So, when are the gay activists going to demand that Tony Dungy be fired at NBC? When do you think that’ll happen, Rush?” Because, if you’re just joining us, and it has now been confirmed, Tony Dungy did tell, and he’s the moral authority of the NFL. When there is a moral dilemma or conundrum, they turn to Tony Dungy, the league does, other players do. They seek Dungy’s counsel on things. He’s achieved that status. He is a man of God. He’s considered incorruptible.
He told the Tampa Bay Times that he would not have drafted Michael Sam if he were head coach in the league precisely because Michael Sam was gay, that he would not want to deal with the mess, meaning the media circus. He said it’s not that I’m opposed to Michael Sam having an opportunity to play; I just wouldn’t have picked him. Which, you people e-mailing me wondering about snark comments, there are.
I have seen, I have found a couple of mini-snark comments in Drive-By sports media. The first half of the stories: Dungy unassailable, Dungy moral authority, Dungy understandable. But then at the end of the story, “But this is where Coach Dungy runs into trouble, because if it’s okay to discriminate against minorities because of too much trouble, then where would he be in the league?”
So, I don’t know what’s gonna happen here. You would think that Dungy would, I don’t know, be immune. But even in some of the Drive-By sports media, they’re gonna have problems with this. (interruption) You want to ask me an NFL marketing question? By all means, ask me the NFL marketing much. What is it? (interruption) Perhaps. Snerdley wants to know, “Could it be that drafting the first openly gay player is a marketing ploy by the Rams ’cause you know it’s gonna sell tickets.”
It might attract, it might expand the NFL audience to include gay people who may not be football fans, who might now be converted to football. Is that what you mean? (interruption) Or just want to be supportive? (interruption) Okay. So the Rams might sell more tickets than they otherwise would have because people just want be to supportive of the decision that they made. Anything’s possible. I mean, if you can have the whole month of October as pink month in the NFL, you could have a rainbow day. You know, one Sunday rainbow Sunday.
You could do a rainbow month as a marketing opportunity. Yeah. I suppose it’s entirely possible. I don’t see why not if they thought it was a marketing opportunity. (interruption) What do you mean if Dungy blames Republicans? Who said he blames Republicans? (interruption) Oh. Oh, well, but he didn’t say that. Let’s not start putting words in his mouth. (interruption) (laughing) Look, any words I put in Dungy’s mouth the media’s gonna write that I said. I’m not gonna do that. Everybody’s asking me, “Well, Rush, what about this? What about this?”
You guys go get your own shows and then you raise those questions. What do you mean, what if Dungy had said, “Well, the Republicans aren’t gonna stay fans anymore.” He didn’t say that. Why bring the Republicans into this? (laughing) Oh, you mean like blame the Tea Party? The Tea Party must have gotten to Dungy or something? Nah. I don’t think — well, anything is possible, but it is the news, Dungy did say it. It has been confirmed and there is some discomfort and unease out there in the sports Drive-Bys. I’ve already detected some.
It’s very, very carefully worded right now. They’re tiptoeing into the water of this, waiting for media brethren to sign on and support any sentiment that might be opposed to Tony Dungy on this. (interruption) It is. The sports media’s dumber than the regular news media, and it’s more liberal. Hey, I am not the only one who thinks that. I know I’m the only one who said it. That’s true.
I mentioned — well, I am courageous in that way. I told you I was at a golf tournament over the weekend. I can’t tell you, it was a record number of people on the golf course and at the related social functions, people didn’t even introduce themselves, they kept saying “Don’t stop what you’re doing.” I haven’t heard that in I don’t know how many years. “Don’t stop what you’re doing.”
Most people, “Hey, great to meet you. I love listening to your show, blah, blah, blah.”
“Don’t stop what you’re doing.” Well, the staff has always told me that, yes. But I’m talking about members of the audience, as a specific thing to say. I mean, there was a sense of urgency and fear behind it all, and appreciation.