Notebook > Sports

'I'm on the Lord's side'

Sports | Challenged over award, Super Bowl champion Tony Dungy declares support for marriage amendment

Issue: "Street warfare," April 7, 2007

Opponents of Indiana's traditional marriage amendment picked the wrong target. Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy was planning to quietly accept a Friend of the Family award from the Indiana Family Institute at their annual dinner on March 20. But critics of the amendment said he shouldn't accept the award and implied that he was naïve to hang out with bigots who allegedly hate homosexuals.

Their tactic backfired. In accepting the award, Dungy came back at his critics with a ringing endorsement of the proposed constitutional amendment, designed to let the legislature decide the gay marriage issue instead of the courts. "IFI is saying what the Lord says," Dungy declared at the dinner. "I'm on the Lord's side." Dungy had been honored the same day by the Indiana General Assembly for the Colts' Super Bowl victory and his demonstration of faith-based character in the victory. Now Dungy's endorsement could put new pressure on the state House of Representatives to pass the amendment, which has been adopted by the Republican-controlled state Senate and would next go to the voters in a statewide referendum.

Dungy doesn't seek attention for his political views. Yet back him into a corner, or hint that he's too friendly with the wrong crowd, and he reaches for his Bible and answers with something more than personal opinion. "We're not trying to downgrade anyone else," Dungy said. "But we're trying to promote the family-family values the Lord's way." Tactically, his critics have handed the marriage amendment team a couple of touchdowns in a close game. They may end up wishing they had let the coach receive his family award in peace and quiet.

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Around the Horn

BASKETBALL: Cleveland Cavaliers phenom LeBron James may have just injected instant credibility into his off-court posse. Seems that James, 22, and billionaire investor Warren Buffett, 76, are becoming fast friends. The pair met over cheeseburgers in Buffett's Omaha, Neb., home a few months ago. "He wanted a few tips on basketball and I wanted a little advice on money," joked Buffett, estimated by Forbes magazine to be the world's second-richest person. "We switch. He tells me what socks to buy and I tell him what stocks to pick." James returned the favor, inviting Buffett to be his guest at a recent Cavaliers game.

OLYMPICS: If this is a sign of things to come, the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing could turn out to be very interesting-if not scary. Security officials uncovered an elaborate device buried beneath the turf of a Hong Kong race track where the equestrian events will be held. The device had a dozen tubes, each filled with a poison dart and some sort of firing system. Apparently the darts were meant to drug or kill the horses as they passed by. Police suspect a gambling syndicate planted the darts for other racing events held at the track.

BASEBALL: For the first time in nearly two decades, a woman donned a major league baseball umpire's uniform and called an exhibition game during spring training. Ria Cortesio got her shot after years in the minors. "It's awesome," Cubs first baseman Derrick Lee said when he learned Cortesio would be calling one of his final exhibition games. "I think it's about time. Female eyes are as good as male eyes. Why can't they be umpires? Good for her."

Russ Pulliam
Russ Pulliam

Russ is a columnist for The Indianapolis Star, the director of the Pulliam Fellowship, and a member of God's World Publications' board of directors.

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