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Sports Writers Lashed Out At Tony Dungy For Celebrating Christianity, But The Coach Wasn’t Going To Back Down

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Twitter users berated former NFL coach Tony Dungy for celebrating Christianity on Twitter and got more of a holy smack down than they bargained for.

The Twitter users, including two sports writers, called Dungy out for a tweet congratulating the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday on their Super Bowl win. Quarterback Nick Foles “told me last week that he felt the Lord had him in Philadelphia for a special moment and he played like it tonight,” the tweet said.

Negative response to the tweet sparked a firestorm on Twitter, with sports writers such as The Big Lead’s Kyle Koster and writer Stephanie Stradley, who criticized Dungy for talking about Christianity and the Holy Spirit amid sports analysis.

Dungy, who works as an analyst for NBC Sports, did not back down, but instead doubled down on his previous comment Tuesday, saying that Foles’ Christian faith was part of what helped him to be a quality quarterback.

NBC pays me to express my opinion. And it was my opinion that Nick Foles would play well because his Christian faith would allow him to to play with confidence. And that he’s a good QB. I think I was right on both counts. https://t.co/4HOfXt78UZ

— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) February 6, 2018

Stradley chimed in with follow-up criticism aimed at Dungy, tweeting: “I’m just not wanting it as a part of football analysis. Humans are not the Holy Spirit.”

Dungy remained steadfast in his position that celebrating Foles’ skill as an athlete and his faith as a Christian was neither wrong, nor outside of his job description, and asserted that there was no basis for casting doubt on whether the Holy Spirit actually spoke to Foles, given the tenets of Christianity.

Why would you find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit could speak to Nick Foles just as much as a coach could speak to him? If he credited a coach for saying “Stay calm and be confident” that’s good. But if he tells me Christ says that to him I shouldn’t report it??? https://t.co/I7P4IU26GH

— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) February 6, 2018

Stradley deleted her tweet in defeat, but Koster devoted an entire article entitled “Is Tony Analyzing Or Evangelizing When It Comes To Nick Foles?” criticizing Dungy’s public applause for Foles’ Christian faith and urged both NBC and the public to berate Dungy should he do such a thing again.

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“Dungy expressing his beliefs on his personal time and platform is one thing. And even if I disagree with him sometimes, I appreciate his candor and willingness to open himself up for criticism. But when his beliefs seep into his analyst role — either unintentionally or otherwise — they should be checked, both by NBC and the public,” Koster wrote Tuesday.

Foles was not the only player to acknowledge faith’s role in football, as Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson and Wide Receiver Zach Ertz both openly thanked God on the field for their Super Bowl victory directly after the game.

“I can only give the praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ for giving me this opportunity,” Pederson said, according to Townhall.

Follow Joshua Gill on Twitter

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