Tony Dungy defends appearance with Ron DeSantis: ‘Obama said the same things’

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Tony Dungy defends appearance with Ron DeSantis: ‘Obama said the same things’

Hall of Fame coach Tony Dungy pushed back Wednesday at progressives who had criticized his appearing with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Mr. Dungy noted on Twitter that his home-state governor was signing a pro-fatherhood bill about which he had said nothing that former President Barack Obama didn’t.

“2 days ago I spoke on behalf of a Florida bill that supports dads & families and it offended some people,” Mr. Dungy said in his tweet, which included snippets from a 2008 Obama speech on the issue.

“14 yrs ago Pres Obama said the same things almost verbatim. I’m assuming people were outraged at him too,” Mr. Dungy added dryly.

Mr. Obama had said that “we know the statistics — that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.”

The bill, according to an account in The Hill, directs $70 million to educational and mentorship programs to help children, fathers, and families, including organizations like Mr. Dungy’s nonprofit group All Pro Dad.

“I am serving the Lord so I’ll keep supporting dads and families,” said Mr. Dungy, the first Black head coach to win a Super Bowl.

Liberals and leftists were irked that Mr. Dungy appeared in public with Mr. DeSantis and called for NBC Sports, for which Mr. Dungy is a broadcast pundit, to punish him.

Former MSNBC and ESPN host Keith Olbermann, for example, called Mr. Dungy “that fraud … standing there, cackling, also a fascist political prop. This you, @NBCSports, @SNFonNBC?”

Added Shana V. White: “FYI: Tony Dungy has been anti-Black, homophobic and into respectability politics since forever. Would not be surprised if he was a member of the GOP. That’s why he‘s hanging with DeSantis.”

Mr. Dungy, who led the Indianapolis Colts to their Super Bowl win, also released a statement Monday supporting the bill that Mr. DeSantis signed.

“This is going to be tremendous and such a good help to fathers in Florida,” he said. “This bill is so important. I want to thank all of the men and women that have been behind this.”

Correction: A previous version of the story incorrectly named the wrong team that Mr. Dungy led to the Super Bowl.

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