Dungy Responds to Criticism After Supporting DeSantis Fatherhood Initiative

Former NFL coach Tony Dungy responded Tuesday to critics who called him a “fraud” and a “racist apologist” after he attended a press conference where Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a new bill directing millions of dollars toward a fatherhood initiative.

Dungy works with the nonprofit group All Pro Dad, which provides parenting information and hosts events.

At the DeSantis press conference Dungy said, “I asked [Abe Brown], how do those young boys (19, 20, 21) get [in prison]? And he told me it’s not socioeconomic, it’s not racial, it’s not education, it’s none of that. Ninety-five percent of these boys did not grow up with their dad.”

Dungy also cited statistics related to fatherless children and said, “This is going to be tremendous and such a good help to fathers in Florida. This bill is so important. I want to thank all of the men and women that have been behind this. It is going to allow groups like All Pro Dad and people like those here today to do great things for our fathers here in Florida.”

Critics pounced.


Keith Olberman, a former sports broadcaster and noted liberal prognosticator, tweeted, “And that fraud @TonyDungy Dungy standing there, cackling, also a fascist political prop.”

Exavier Pope, an African-American media personality, tweeted “Tony Dungy probably means well and does plenty of good in the world. However his racist apologist, respectability politics, and The Black friend showmanship is an unnecessary dance move he doesn’t need to “tap” into to do that work.”

Dungy responded on Wednesday, citing words spoken by former President Obama.

Dungy wrote in a tweet, “2 days ago I spoke on behalf of a Florida bill that supports dads & families and it offended some people. 14 yrs ago Pres Obama said the same things almost verbatim. I’m assuming people were outraged at him too. I am serving the Lord so I’ll keep supporting dads and families.”

The bill signed by DeSantis will direct millions of dollars towards initiatives aimed at encouraging responsible and involved fatherhood.

The bill provides $70 million in funding for a wide range of programs related to supporting fatherhood. A significant portion of the money earmarked for the program, about $32.6 million, will go toward funding grants aimed at assisting fathers. The grants will be targeted at issues such as helping fathers find employment, manage child support obligations and transition from a period of incarceration. The measure also accompanies funding in the state budget for grants that “provide evidence-based parenting education specifically for fathers.”

The law also increases a stipend, from $1,256 to $1,720, for young adults who previously were in the foster care system and are attending post-secondary schools.

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Steve Stewart is a senior contributor at The Florida Capital Star. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tony Dungy” by Erik Drost. CC BY 2.0.



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