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01/31/2012

USA Net to fight discrimination -- with man who framed gays as anti-'The Lord's side'?!?!

by Jeremy Hooper

As part of its annual "Characters Unite" campaign against discrimination, the USA Network plans to feature former pro football coach and current NBC Analyst Tony Dungy. In fact, in the press release that just hit my inbox, Dungy gets top billing:

Screen Shot 2012-01-31 At 1.08.22 Pm

“NFL Characters Unite”

· Original Documentary: A one-hour special profiling Atlanta Falcons Pro Bowl tight end Tony Gonzalez, New Orleans Saints star tight end Jimmy Graham, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and Super Bowl XL MVP Hines Ward, and NBC’s “Football Night in America” analyst and Super Bowl-winning Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy and narrated by NBC Sports’ Chris Collingsworth. In the film, the NFL stars share their personal journeys of overcoming prejudice and discrimination and help to transform the life of a teen currently dealing with a similar situation. Through candid interviews and unique one-on-one activities, these on- and off-the-field heroes help bring diverse people together, change attitudes and instill courage and compassion. The film was created and executive produced by The Hochberg Ebersol Company’s co-founders Charlie Ebersol and Justin W. Hochberg, and directed by NFL Films’ Greg Frith. NFL CHARACTERS UNITE will air on Friday, February 10 at 7pmET/PT.

· Super Bowl Special Event: USA, the NFL and The Hochberg Ebersol Company will co-host a special brunch during Super Bowl weekend in Indianapolis to highlight the documentary and the partnership to fight intolerance and hate.

You know, the very same Tony Dungy who once teamed up with the Indiana Family Institute (a Focus on the Family affiliate) to position gay people and their marriages as being against "the Lord's side":

Mmm hmmm, right. "Characters Unite," so long as they do so heterosexually, in line with Mr. Dungy's personal relationship with God. Oh, and we're all supposed to overcome discrimination, just as long as the form of bias up for discussion doesn't involve loving gay couples and their rights as American taxpayers.

Not that I think those are USA's intended message, mind you. But that's the mixed message they are giving. An unfortunate choice for such a nicely intentioned project.

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