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Opening Arguments

Family, man

An Indianapolis Star sports columnist is not joining the "Dungy's staying!" fab club:

I am uncomfortable because I simply can't talk myself out of writing the following words, words that will incur the near-universal wrath of a city that has come to revere Tony Dungy, not only as a coach but as a man:

I think that by returning to the Colts, and doing so after his entire family moved out of Indianapolis and back to Tampa, Fla., for reasons he prefers remain private, Dungy has revealed himself as something of a hypocrite.
As one of the chief spokesmen for All Pro Dad, an organization dedicated to strengthening the bonds of fathers with their children, he has spoken passionately about the importance of men putting their faith and family first, before football and all else.
So I don't understand:
What came first here?
If family is really first, doesn't Dungy decide to live in the same city with his wife and children? Remember, Dungy not only has one adult daughter and a high school-age son. He and his wife also have three little ones, a first-grader, a kindergartener and an infant.
[. . .]
Again, I'm not saying Dungy is in any way lacking as a father. That would be wrong-headed and cruel, especially in light of the family tragedy two years ago, a horror that showed us again how little control even the most loving and attentive parents have.
What I'm saying is, I see a troubling disconnect between word and deed here. I see someone who has used his pulpit to speak about family issues and specifically the importance of fatherhood, and someone who has made a decision that appears, at least on the surface, to be hypocritical.
 I need to think about this some more, but my initial reaction is that the columnist is being a little harsh on Dungy. He says he is merely pointing out hypocrisy, not criticizing Dungy as a father. But the only reason to criticize Dungy's decision is to put it in the context of family life, so the disclaimer is a little disingenuous.
Dungy seems like a decent man and, until and unless we learn otherwise, we should be inclined to accept him at his word that he and his family discussed the issue and came to an agreement. It sounds like Irsay is going to pay Dungy and his family a lot of travel money, so it's not even clear that the "living in two cities" issue is really that big a deal.
Posted in: Hoosier lore, Sports


Craig Ladwig
Wed, 01/23/2008 - 4:06pm

Fatherhood aside, what is he doing setting up his home in Florida after all the money that Indiana raised from taxpayers to keep his team here?
That is one reason Dr. Cecil Bohanon, an adjunct scholar of the Indiana Policy Review, estimates that the economic impact of a professional football team is roughly equal to two Wal-Marts.