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Former NFL coach Tony Dungy has never been shy about his faith in Christ. Even after leaving the NFL, he is using his new platform as a sports analyst on NBC to “be the voice” that encourages Christian players to bring their faith to the field. Regardless of the backlash they might face.
Dungy sat down with Jenna Browder of CBN News to discuss how his faith has influenced his career. He was also promoting his new inspirational children’s book series, Austin Plays Fair and Maria Finds Courage, which he co-wrote with his wife, Lauren.
During the interview, Dungy was asked about the backlash he received after reporting, on air, comments made about God by Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles prior to Super Bowl LII.
“He told me he felt that God had him on that Philadelphia Eagles team for a reason,” Dungy recalled. “He had been the backup quarterback, now he was starting in the Super Bowl and he felt very confident he was going to have a good game because he believed God had him there for that purpose.”
After the interview, Dungy and Foles both received pushback from fans and viewers who wanted them to keep their faith to themselves.
“A lot of people said, ‘Well, you shouldn’t bring religion into it,’ and I was just reporting the facts,” Dungy said. “But believe it or not, I got much more support than I did heat. So many people wrote in and said, ‘Hey, I’m glad that you said and reported on exactly what he said and I’m glad you talked about his faith in Christ.’”
The media shouldn’t discount athletes who discuss their faith, Dungy said.
“I think people have to understand that Christian athletes have the same ability to espouse their views as anyone else has and if we ask them a question about, what is allowing them to play well, and they say, ‘It’s my faith in Christ’ or ‘It’s the Holy Spirit,’ we can’t hold that in and we can’t begrudge them of that,” he said.
In a series of tweets in February, Dungy further explained why he believes God gave him the job at NBC for a greater purpose.
“I am just thankful for the boldness of Coach Pederson and those Eagles players to express their faith,” he wrote. “I was proud to be able to use my job—where God placed me—to help their voice be heard.”
Aside from his current job as a sports broadcaster, Dungy and his wife help run the Dungy Family Foundation.
“The Dungy Family Foundation has worked with Christian organizations and pregnancy care centers, as well as organizations focused on youth development, in Florida, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Indiana,” the website explains.
It’s clear that Dungy’s focus both on and off the field, is telling others about the love of God and how it can radically change your life.