How well would the American education system work if teachers had to yell at students every time they were wrong? When there’s an opportunity to educate, should educators call students “haters” and threaten future educational opportunities simply because speaking exposed a lack of knowledge on a certain subject?
Tony Dungy said he would not have drafted Michael Sam because he wouldn’t have wanted the distraction. I think Tony Dungy’s comments open up an opportunity to educate and not a chance to attack.
Clay Hopper was the manager of the Montreal Royals in 1946. The Royals were the AAA affiliate of the Brooklyn Dodgers. He told Dodgers GM Branch Rickey that he wouldn’t manage Jackie Robinson. When he found out he didn’t have a choice, he asked Rickey, “You don’t really think a n***** is human, do you?”
The Montreal Royals’ spring training was the definition of “distraction.” Some cities wouldn’t let the Royals train due to Robinson’s race. Jacksonville actually chained and locked the stadium before a spring training game without letting the team know. Imagine the anger from Royals players when they arrived to that scene. It’s safe to assume not all of them were angry with Jacksonville.
Entire municipalities caused distractions which did not influence Rickey at all. He simply believed what he was doing was right. After a year of having Robinson forced upon him, Hopper recommended Robinson be promoted Brooklyn. The same Clay Hopper, who uttered one of the most despicable comments in sports history, said knowing Robinson made him a better man.
In a lot of situations, the comparisons made between Jackie Robinson and Michael Sam are way off-base. I’m not comparing the two men. I’m comparing Branch Rickey and Tony Dungy. Rickey knew there would be distractions for those who allowed themselves to be distracted. Luckily, he wasn’t distracted.
No one is thinking Tony Dungy said anything close to what Clay Hopper said. This is not about who Clay Hopper was. It’s about who Clay Hopper became.
I wish Tony Dungy didn’t say what he said. Not because I want him to lie. I have such respect for Tony Dungy I wanted to hear that he would have drafted him. Since I know he wouldn’t, I respect his honesty greatly. Tony Dungy is not a terrible man for making these comments. He’s human with honest opinions. If those honest feelings offend you, talk about the subject manner in a way to educate. Does attacking Dungy’s character suddenly bring out the better Dungy in the future?
If/when I say something that is offensive or disappointing to you, I would love the opportunity to learn from it and have you educate me. I want you to expose me to how you and your community have been wronged when people like me express those types of opinions. I hope you’ll make me a better man, just like Jackie did for Clay Hopper.