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David Tyree is most famous for catching the football off of his helmet in Super Bowl XLII.  The catch allowed the New York Giants to defeat the undefeated New England Patriots. AP Photo

Ex-Giants Super Bowl hero’s anti-gay marriage stance isn’t the problem, however, his rhetoric is.

By Michael Brown,
Sentinel Sports Writer


Last week as the New York state assembly passed a gay marriage bill, former New York Giants Super Bowl standout, David Tyree, appeared at a news conference and voiced his opposition.

No problem there. We live in a free country where free speech is protected and we’re all not expected to be of the same monolithic thought.

But, here’s the problem. Tyree said in reference to the possible legalization of same-sex marriage, “This will be the beginning of our country sliding toward; it’s a strong word, but anarchy.”

Strong word? That’s an understatement. Tyree could’ve picked a million other words to sum up his thoughts, but “anarchy” is a word that would have been best left alone.

Look, my goal’s not to impose my views on others. I understand that same-sex marriage is a polarizing issue.

Whenever we have discussions as a society about issues such as civil rights and religion, not everyone is going to be on the same page. But Tyree’s “anarchy” comment is counterproductive, hyperbolic and ignorant.

Tyree, who is African American, should know better if he knows anything about history.

Right-wing social forces in this country a few decades ago employed the same type of vitriolic language in defense of miscegenation laws, which criminalized interracial marriage.

They claimed all hell would break loose if blacks and whites were allowed to marry.

Well, since the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision, which repealed the laws, interracial marriages and relationships have progressed and so have the rest of us. In fact, an interracial marriage resulted in the birth of our nation’s current president.

Now back to Tyree, he wasn’t finished.

He later added: It’s not about establishing a theocracy, it’s about what’s right. How can marriage be marriage for thousands of years and now all the sudden because a minority, an influential minority, has a push or agenda…and totally reshapes something that was founded in our country.”

OK. I’ll take Tyree at his word that he doesn’t want to establish a Taliban-like theocracy, but he sure is scratching the surface.

First off, who died and ordained Tyree as the sole arbiter of “what’s right?” Indeed, he’s entitled to his opinion, but not to all of “our” opinions.

The rest of Tyree’s comments are troubling as well and indicate his reluctance to use history as a guide.

Tyree implies that because something has been around for a long time, it should remain the same. Thank God not everyone shares his view and follows his logic.

A certain American “Peculiar Institution” that author Kenneth Stamps accurately wrote about would still be the rule of the day, if everyone subscribed to Tyree’s logic. That fact seems to be lost on Tyree, who has since failed to walk back the comments.

That a black man would talk about “an influential minority” in a derisive way further underscores his lack of understanding of those who came before him.

If not for members of “an influential minority” just a few decades ago, perhaps instead of making that incredible helmet catch in Super Bowl XLII, Tyree may have been an usher in the stands watching a segregated sport.

Again, I don’t have any problems with athletes such as Tyree, Rashard Mendenhall or Tim Tebow voicing their opinions on issues outside of the sports realm.

Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing the a-political professional sports athlete shunned in favor of guys like Steve Nash, who isn’t afraid to take a stand on issues such as gay marriage and immigration laws.

Tyree’s failure to see the connection between recent history and the current social issue he’s lending his voice to is the problem.

 

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Category: On the Soap Box


 

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