Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dungy's Return as Colts Coach Makes Him a Hypocrite?

Yesterday Tony Dungy informed us all that he will be back to coach the Colts for the 2008 season. We will have at least one more year of the dependable Dungy leading our Colts on the sideline. One more year of that stoic, steadfast voice of calm and determination. Dungy will be the one to lead us into a new era in Colts football: Lucas Oil Stadium. Everyone in Colts Nation was more than happy to hear this news.

I too was excited when I heard, and it almost made me forget about how depressed I was at the way the Colts finished this season. Then I read Bob Kravitz's article in today's IndyStar and he brought up quite an interesting topic.

The following quote is from Bob Kravitz, and it's quite a statement to make here in the heart of Colts-land:

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.

To Kravitz's credit, he profusely denies having any right to make this claim, but makes it nonetheless. At first my mind started racing, thinking of how ridiculous Kravitz is, and how idiotic it is to call Dungy a hypocrite. I mean, we're talking Tony Dungy here. He has more integrity than the entire Patriot organization put together. How could he possibly be a hypocrite?

Well, Kravitz goes on to describe how Dungy has been such an advocate of putting family and faith above career goals. So at second glance, it does seem a bit contradictory to preach putting your family first, when you've agreed to live hundreds of miles away from your family, just to coach at least one more year of football.

Now Kravitz also says, and I wholeheartedly agree, that this was a personal decision that was made with the approval of his family and really, it's not our business to question what they've decided to do. We don't know all the circumstances, and maybe Dungy will be flying home every night at the expense of Mr. Irsay. But I can see where this might be a bit detrimental to his image as a "family-first" kind of a guy.

Personally, I have to believe Dungy has put his family first and always will. I just don't think he's the kind of person who would make this choice if he thought it was in any way compromising his relationship with his family. But I also think it is a bad example he is setting for those who have looked up to him as a man who can be so successful at his career and yet not short-change his family life.

He may very well be putting his family first while coaching from a different state, it's just that he may be the only man on the planet who can do it this way. Now many men (especially football players) may look at this and think, "Well, if Dungy can do it, I can too." The problem is that they probably can't.

Anyways, I just thought it was an interesting point to make, and I wonder how much of an effect this might have on his coaching. At face value, it sure seems that if his family is really moving to Tampa, then he has made a definite choice of career over family. It's just hard to see it any other way. And that just seems so contradictory to what Dungy stands for. And that makes me wonder if he'll be any different of a coach next year, if he doesn't have his family to go home to at night. I don't know. Like Kravitz said, "I am uncomfortable."

Then again, we're talking about Tony Dungy. I mean, come on. At any rate, GO COLTS!


Ange said...

I don't think his family lived here for at least the first year of him being a coach in Indy. In his book he talks about how he flew to Tampa as often as he could and how much his wife hated the cold. I don't remember how long they did that because obviously his family eventually joined him in Indy.

And.. Kravitz needs to think of Dungy's career choice. Yeah, he mentions "family first" coming from a NFL coaches mindset... and could probably be husband/ father of the year within the NFL world but that just means that he drops his kids off at school and on Mondays he chooses to leave work early compared to other NFL coaches who work til 6 am to 10pm every day of the week...

I am guessing this will be his last year though....

Jonathan said...

I don't know. I don't think it's fair for us to make these kinds of judgments about Tony. Especially about his character, calling him a hypocrite. Isn't that kind of hypocritical in itself?

Kravitz has a job to do; he has to keep writing, to share his opinion. I understand that. But to go as far as calling someone a hypocrite? Come on now. A lot of people eat it up I guess.

Personally (though I admit I'm happy he's staying for at least another year) I know that my opinion of Dungy's character means nothing. I trust that he made the right decision for his family, for himself and for the Colts. That should be enough.

I read an article this morning, which sort of gives a different viewpoint to Kravitz's:


Arthur said...

I agree that calling Dungy a hypocrite is definitely going too far and is uncalled for. I'm sure Kravitz wouldn't be getting the attention he is getting if he had worded it differently though, so like you said, he's just trying to do his job and sell print.

But, I also think it's an interesting point that he brought up and I can see where people might look at Dungy's decision and say, "Well, how can he possibly be putting his family first?"

I also agree with what you said about how this is the right decision for his family, for himself and for the Colts. But I think it's interesting that if you just put the name aside, you have a debatable topic.

Can a man (like Dungy) who is committed to a career that is extremely demanding of his time and energy, also be considered an excellent "family man."

Like Ange was saying, if you put him on par with NFL coaches, he's probably Man of the Year. The question is whether or not accepting a coaching position in the NFL (or any other highly demanding job) automatically means you've chosen your career over your family. So can we possibly look up to that man as an example of a good "family man?"

That's the question I find interesting and it's disappointing that Kravitz didn't go about it in a different way. I think we're all agreed that calling Dungy a hypocrite was probably just for shock value.