Brief Snippets In The Culture War

Tim Graham writes that network sports producers will have to make liberal use of sophisticated audio editing software to clean up Tony Dungy’s shocking remarks on live TV immediately after the Super Bowl:


Victorious Colts coach Tony Dungy said to CBS sports anchor Jim Nantz on the post-game show last night that he and Bears coach Lovie Smith were proud to be successful black coaches, but more proud of being Christian coaches. How many media outlets will use the first half, and snip away the second?

I tell you what. I’m proud to be representing African-American coaches, to be the first African-American to win this. It means an awful lot to our country. [SNIP!] But again, more than anything, I’ve said it before, Lovie Smith and I, not only the first two African-Americans, but Christian coaches, showing that you can win doing it the Lord’s way. We’re more proud of that.

The interview aired right around 10:13 Sunday night. Nantz’s “social significance” question was fine, but he might not have liked the whole answer. Colts owner Jim Irsay also explicitly praised God for the victory, so the ACLU’s teeth must have really been on edge at this lack of separation of church and sport.

Every year my wife and I put on a Super Bowl party in our home just outside San Jose; about 25 people attended last night. So I got to observe this brief battle in the Culture War first hand; it was a true Bobos In Paradise moment.


Sitting in front of me in the den were two couples, both in their early 50s; clean cut, casually well dressed, and outwardly extremely conservative looking. But in the surprisingly conformist culture of the Bobo Bay Area, appearances aren’t always what they seem. One couple, and the wife of the other, sneered in remarkable condescension at Dungy’s remarks. “So he’s thanking God for winning. I guess God doesn’t like the losing team, huh?!”

Gee I dunno; if a man can keep his faith in something greater than himself through an incident such as this–and clearly Dungy has–then I think he, not to mention God Himself, can put the NFL’s weekly rumbles into perspective.

“Why do they say stuff like that?” was the remark I heard immediately afterwards. Well, perhaps one subliminal reason is to generate responses such as yours. (I’ve heard sports anchor Gary Radnich of the local KNBR 680AM sports radio and former local NBC television affiliate KRON make virtually identical remarks whenever an NFL athlete has thanked God.)

Unlike Janet Jackson’s shopworn halftime routine a few years ago, think of this as the most radical example of Epater Les Bourgeois at the Super Bowl.


Update: Give CBS credit–they left Dungy’s remarks (which occur at about 2:40) in the clip they uploaded to YouTube of the Lombardi Trophy presentation, now at the top of this post.

Another Update: “Tony Dungy just committed a cardinal sin in the Church of the Left: putting religious identity over racial identity. Blasphemy!”

More Mary Katharine Ham adds:

Despite the fact that Dungy and Lovie Smith both emphasized their faith over their race, all you will hear about from sportswriters is Dungy’s race. Sportswriters. Achingly predictable sometimes. Most of the time, in fact.



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