Displaying 30+ Stories
CBNNews.com

'The NFL Could Do a Much Better Job': Tony Dungy on Players Kneeling and the National Anthem

09-10-2018
5833195208001
DF_DUNGY_091018_HD1080_0_73.067

WASHINGTON – Legendary NFL coach and sports analyst Tony Dungy tells CBN News the NFL could do a "much better job" handling the debate over players who choose to kneel during the national anthem.  
 
Dungy, an analyst on NBC's "Football Night in America," sat down with CBN News to talk about a new children's book series he wrote with his wife, Lauren. 
 
Regarding kneeling during the national anthem, Dungy believes the NFL could do more to support players.     
 
"I don't think the NFL has handled it great," Dungy told CBN News. "I don't think you can just say, 'Well, don't do this. This isn't the right time.' You've got to come up with other solutions." 
 
"I would hope the NFL would work with these players to say, 'Ok, maybe during the national anthem isn't the right time but let me give you a platform," Dungy continued. "'You've got concerns. Let's set up some meetings. Let's give you some time in the media and at our press conferences to say, 'Here's what's going on in my community, here's what I'm concerned about, here's some of the things that we're doing, here's some of the solutions,' so people could hear the issue and not just see, well, they're kneeling for the national anthem, what does that mean?" 
 
Former San Francisco 49ers player Colin Kaepernick started the kneeling movement in 2016 as a means to protest racial inequality and police brutality. 
 
It became a cultural flashpoint in 2017 when President Donald Trump tweeted about it.  
 
He weighed in again over the weekend as the 2018 regular season kicked off. 
 
"Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!" Trump tweeted. 
 
The NFL has faced continual criticism of its handling of the debate but still has no official policy on the national anthem.  
 
So far this year, few players have knelt in protest during the playing of the song.

Miami Dolphins Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson were the first to do so Sunday. Other players from different teams held up fists and Denver Broncos Demaryius Thomas and Brandon Marshall both stayed in the locker room. 
 
When CBN News asked Dungy, a former player himself, if he would kneel, he said no. 
 
"For me personally, even though I support the guys and their right to kneel, I think doing it in a different way is going to be more helpful to get people to really understand what their message is," Dungy said. 
 
Transcription
 
Jenna Browder: "Give me your thoughts on the national anthem and players who are choosing to kneel. How do you think the NFL has handled this?"  
 
Tony Dungy:  "I don't think the NFL has handled it great. When I coached I always encouraged my players to be part of the community. I wanted them to be out there, community service, doing things, being involved. So now you get players who are saying, 'Hey, I'm out there. I see some things that aren't quite right,' and the players want to be a voice for people that don't have a voice.  So, I don't think you can just say, 'Well, don't do this. This isn't the right time.' You've got to come up with other solutions and I would hope the NFL would work with these players to say, 'Ok, maybe during the national anthem isn't the right time but let me give you a platform.' You've got concerns. Let's set up some meetings. Let's give you some time in the media and at our press conferences to say, 'Here's what's going on in my community, here's what I'm concerned about, here's some of the things that we're doing, here's some of the solutions,' so people could hear the issue and not just see, 'Well, they're kneeling for the national anthem, what does that mean?' I think the NFL could do a much better job of that." 
 
Jenna Browder: "If you were a player today, Tony, would you stand or would you kneel?" 
 
Tony Dungy: "Well, I went through that a long time ago. 1968 was the year Dr. Martin Luther King was killed. Two Olympians had the moment at the Olympic victory ceremony and African Americans were saying, 'Should we stand for the national anthem? Should we kneel? Should we use that as a time of protest?' And my dad, who was a serviceman, he said, 'You know, if you want to do something, if you want to kneel, if you want to have a demonstration, do that but only do it if you think it's the right thing to do, if it's going to help the situation.' What you've got to think about is, what's going to help? And right now, for me personally, even though I support the guys and their right to kneel, I think doing it in a different way is going to be more helpful to get people to really understand what their message is."

News Articles