Unsportsmanlike Conduct

National Organization for Marriage

Dear Marriage Supporter,

It has long been clear that same-sex marriage activists don't want a fair and even-sided debate. They don't want honest public discourse that hears both sides. They want instead the enforcement of double standards that work to bolster their own side while silencing any opposition.

To take one instance: the oft-repeated call to a standard of "live and let live" is not really meant to apply equally, to everyone. It isn't meant to apply to people of faith, or those who believe in traditional marriage. No, such people are supposed to be harassed and harried for their views at every opportunity. Their businesses should be targeted with nuisance lawsuits, and ultimately they should be forced out of public life altogether unless they wholly embrace the ideology of so-called "marriage equality."

Imagine a game—say a football game—where the sides were deliberately matched unevenly. A game with two sets of rules: one for them, and one for us, their opponents. A game fixed by the referees, with penalty flags thrown only against the "wrong" side.

That's the game the same-sex marriage lobby wants to play. And this week, the metaphor is particularly apt and relevant, because the activists and bullies have lately been trying to enforce their uneven rules and mismatched penalties on the structure of the NFL.

Picking the Winners and the Losers

Last Wednesday, the sports world celebrated the annual ESPY awards, a ceremony meant, according to Wikipedia, to honor "excellence in sports performance and achievements."

During the awards this year, Michael Sam—hailed as the first openly gay NFL player—was given the Arthur Ashe Award for courage in the face of adversity. But one wonders if the narrative of adversity Sam has faced is more fiction than fact.

The media was nearly univocal in its praise for Sam's "bravery" in announcing his sexual preferences before getting drafted, after all. Perhaps the "adversity" they had in mind was the challenge of scheduling his play with the team around the laudatory Oprah Winfrey Network documentary he's meant to star in?

The documentary had to be postponed, according to CBS Sports:

With the backlash that occurred when the new show was announced earlier this week, this shouldn't be a huge surprise. Particularly since it makes little sense for a seventh-round draft pick who has an uphill battle to make the team to continue on with a project that might alienate his employers and/or his colleagues.

The Rams apparently didn't know about the documentary before they drafted him with the No. 249 pick... Reportedly, some of his Sam's new teammates were upset about the plans for the show.

I'm sure some of the more imaginative gay activists would suggest all kinds of reasons why his teammates were upset; but it seems most probable that they simply didn't think having part-time jobs on the side represented a full commitment to a football organization.

In any case, Sam's reception of this award should be noted, because I'll be returning to the point later.

What is clear from the outset, though, is that Sam has been picked as a "winner" by the media and others—hailed as akin to Jackie Robinson for "breaking through a barrier" of animus and discrimination. He has been said to symbolize a turning point for the NFL. The world of football, we are now told, is a place of considerably greater tolerance and acceptance of diversity than what it was.

Well, tell that to David Tyree.

Tyree, once a celebrated wide receiver for the New York Giants, was featured in a Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance video in June 2011 because of the backlash he received after expressing publicly his view that marriage is the union of a man and a woman—a view that stems from Tyree's deeply held religious convictions. Tyree is one of several players in the NFL who have been willing to step up and express such views in the public square.

This week, Tyree is in the news again, after having been named to a new position with the Giants organization. But what has been the reaction of those who most vocally celebrated the "new" culture of "tolerance" and "acceptance" in the NFL—such as the Human Rights Campaign? Here's what one HRC spokesman had to say:

His misinformed and dangerous statements put his judgment into question, on and off the field," said Fred Sainz, a spokesman for the HRC. "Why would the New York Giants organization want a guy like this working for them?

Don't waste too much time puzzling over how Tyree's belief in Biblical marriage "put[s] his judgment into question, on and off the field." I guess to people like Fred Sainz, the skill to run a successful screen pass is incumbent upon one's ability to ignore the unique and complementary assets husbands and wives bring to the enterprises of starting a family and raising children.

No, don't waste too much time thinking about it: because it's a ruse. It's a ploy by HRC to distract less attentive readers from the essential fact that when HRC preaches "tolerance," they're really talking about a one-way street of acceptance.

They're proffering a rulebook with two sets of guidelines: one for them, and one for everyone else. All views should be treated equally, says HRC—but some views should be treated more equally than others.

The bottom line is that Tyree has been picked as a "loser" because of his views, just as Sam has been picked as a "winner." Their performance on the field, it seems, is of less importance to all the football fans at HRC and in the media.

Raising the False (Penalty) Flag

Another NFL spotlight this week has focused on former Indianapolis Colts Coach Tony Dungy. Dungy was reported as saying about Michael Sam as a draft pick: "I wouldn't have taken him, not because I don't believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn't want to deal with all of it."

Of course, cries of bigotry and persecution rang from the rooftops in response to that remark.

But what, after all, was Dungy really talking about? He said in a statement intended to clarify things that he meant Sam's sexual orientation could be an unwelcome "distraction." But that only caused an even greater uproar.

Since then, Dungy has said in a follow-up interview:

Well, gay marriage and who should be on a football team have nothing to do with each other... [On the Indianapolis Colts] [n]ot everybody... was a Christian. Not everybody believed what I did. Not everybody had the same views. To equate this to gay marriage to me, is really silly.

Yet that is precisely what people have sought to make it about, as silly as it is—and that's why I'm constrained to mention it here.

Because, you see, what has happened with Dungy is another example of the gross double-standard same-sex marriage activists want to apply to every aspect of public life.

Remember I said I'd return to the matter of Michael Sam's award last week? Well, consider things this way: Sam has been awarded a high honor in the NFL without having set foot on the field during a game of regulation play. He has also already faced an awkward scheduling difficulty because of a proposed documentary offer he accepted before committing to the NFL, which presented potential conflicts with his team obligations.

The point is that it is evident that Sam's orientation has already been a distraction from football. If you turned on ESPN over the last few days hoping for news of football, you would not have seen so much about pass completion statistics and running yard averages relevant to the upcoming season. You'd have seen instead a whole lot of talking about the drama of gay rights.

Is Tony Dungy a "bigot" for saying that he personally would rather not deal with any such and just do what he got into his career to do, which is win football games?

A Glimpse at the Playbook

Marriage Supporter, what is happening in the NFL is not an isolated phenomenon, but a sign of the larger cultural conflict of which NOM is on the front lines. This is why we need your help to continue the work that we do, and why I ask you so often to provide that assistance. Would you consider sparing a donation to NOM today?

Still not convinced about how wide-spread the effects of redefining marriage are becoming?

Consider a final case.

A New York Times columnist named Josh Barro on Wednesday tweeted the following:

Anti-LGBT attitudes are terrible for people in all sorts of communities. They linger and oppress, and we need to stamp them out, ruthlessly.

A minute later he followed up with a second tweet:

We don't even need to change everybody's mind. Making people too embarrassed to express their anti-gay views is valuable progress.

Needless to say, debate quickly erupted on Twitter. But Barro stuck with it, late that night issuing a tweet comparing social conservatives to segregationists in the 1970s!

Finally, on Thursday morning, the good folks at the Media Research Center's NewsBusters asked Barro a direct question; and his reply is illuminating:

NB: Honest question for @jbarro: should the 'traditional marriage' opinion be stamped out ruthlessly?

Barro: @newsbusters I think it should be rendered unsuitable for polite company, like advocacy of segregation.

Rarely do we see such open frankness from those who favor redefining marriage. Here, in plain terms, is the page from the playbook that HRC and others have been enacting in their harassment of David Tyree and Tony Dungy over the past week:

The goal is to make "traditional marriage," or the very mention of it, "unsuitable for polite company, like advocacy of segregation."

Well, Marriage Supporter, I call foul on that play. And I know you will, too.

So, I ask you to please continue standing with NOM and speaking up on behalf of marriage—regardless of how many elite intolerant bigots in the media find it to be "unsuitable for polite company." Because if their company is considered "polite," then I'd hate to see what impolite company looks like.

Meanwhile, NOM will continue running both a strong offense and defense, trying to advance back down the field toward our goal: a mom and a dad for every child, and a culture that recognizes the great and beautiful good of marriage between one man and one woman.


Brian S Brown

Brian S. Brown
National Organization for Marriage

Brian Brown

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Copyright 2014