Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekly Correction, where we highlight an athlete who would have benefited by consulting our website prior to painfully stumbling before either the media, a professional team or college program, a professional league, an officiating crew, and/or similar individuals and entities.
This week’s nominee for a weekly correction is former New York Giants football player and Super Bowl XLII hero David Tyree. As you’ll recall, Tyree is most famous for this spectacular catch that most Giants fans claim is an act of divine intervention.
David has taken his association with divinity one step further this week as he has publicly come out against the same-sex marriage bill currently under consideration in the New York State Legislature.
“I always knew that God had a hand enabling me to make that catch, with one hand on the side of my head. That was something I couldn’t do with my own abilities. Perhaps God orchestrated that play to give me a platform for what I’m doing here today: To urge political leaders all over our nation to reject same-sex marriage and to stand up for traditional marriage, which is truly the backbone of our civilization.”
His specific comments on the gay-marriage bill were as follows:
“What I know will happen if this does come forth is this will be the beginning of our country sliding toward, it is a strong word, but anarchy. The moment we have, if you trace back even to other cultures, other countries, that will be the moment where our society in itself loses its grip with what’s right.”
“It’s about what’s right. It’s about how can marriage be marriage for thousands of years and now all of the sudden, because a minority, an influential minority, has a push or an agenda and totally reshapes something that was not founded in our country, not founded by man, it is something that is holy and sacred. I think there is nothing more honorable, worth fighting for, especially if we really care about our future generations.”
“This is what I do know, you can’t teach something that you don’t have. So two men will never be able to show a woman how to be a woman. And that’s just simple. That’s just for a lack of better terms, common sense.”
“Marriage is one of those things that is the backbone of society. So if you redefine it, it changes the way we educate our children, it changes the perception of what is good, what is right, what is just.”
And finally, in a New York Daily News follow up article, when asked if he’d give up the Super Bowl to stop gay marriage, Tyree said: “Honestly, I probably would.”
Tyree firsts suggests that same-sex marriage will lead to anarchy. While he is certainly entitled to his opinion, same-sex marriage is legal in five states and the District of Columbia, not to mention several foreign countries. And to my knowledge, all of those states and countries still have perfectly functioning governments.
Tyree then asserts that “marriage has been marriage for thousands of years”. While that may be true from a religious perspective, from a government perspective, the oldest that marriage can be is 235 years. Since we’re talking about a legal process and not a religious one, Tyree’s invocation of marriage in the religious sense further undermines his argument. It shows he doesn’t really know all the issues at hand in this arena.
As Tyree continues, his argument continues to weaken. His belief that two men can’t show a woman how to be a woman isn’t an about marriage. That’s an argument about procreation, or same-sex adoption. While offspring are often a part of marriage, in many cases, for both heterosexual and homosexual couples, they are not. If you’re keeping track at home, Tyree is 0-3.
At this point his arguments are merely weak, but for good measure Tyree steps off the ledge into the land of hypocrisy. He states that “Marriage is one of those things that is the backbone of society”, a popular belief by many. Sadly, it’s not something Tyree must have believed in that much, as he had one child out-of-wedlock, and another was conceived before he married his current wife. This “backbone of society” clearly didn’t apply to him until it was convenient for him to use it in his argument.
And to top off the hypocrisy, Tyree decided to stick his nose into a matter that actually doesn’t concern him at all. You see Tyree is a lifelong New Jersey resident. Apparently the fact that the Giants claim to hail from New York (despite also playing in New Jersey), gave Tyree license to speak to Giants fans and New Yorker’s about a same-sex marriage bill. That would be like me trying to tell Connecticut what speeding laws they should make because I drive through it on my way to Massachusetts.
And finally, Tyree couldn’t leave well enough alone. He had to twist the knife deeper for Giants fans who support same-sex marriage (and there are plenty) by offering that he’d trade in his Super Bowl catch and win in order to block same-sex marriage.
So where did Tyree go wrong?
First, he spoke without having all of the facts, or choosing to ignore them. If you’re going to step out on the ledge, at least make sure you’re stepping on a sturdy ledge. With the comments Tyree made, its clear he spoke from the heart, not from the brain. It’s an admirable approach, but not a smart one.
Second, he went off topic. If there is an issue you care about, then stay focused on that issue. Otherwise it gives your detractors a chance to move the conversation away from your point.
Third, he contradicted his own lifestyle. This is probably the biggest no-no of all. Much like the politician who advocates a sin free lifestyle who gets caught with a hooker, you can’t preach about something that you yourself don’t practice. Tyree has no credibility to talk about the sanctity of marriage given his own situation.
Fourth, he got involved in a fight that was none of his business. I know that many people will claim that same-sex marriage is a national issue, and that Tyree isn’t the first person from outside New York to sound off on it. But the bottom line is that he’s not a New York resident, and if he really believes New York will go to anarchy if it allows same-sex marriage, then he’s free to living or visiting New York. He can even go to Giants games without having to step inside the state.
And Fifth, and perhaps the most important issue of all, Tyree touched the third rail of celebrity – politics AND religion. There are plenty of people who do agree with David Tyree, but there are equally as many, if not more in a state like New York, who disagree with him. It was bad enough that he openly alienated a portion of the fan base by speaking out so strongly about a topic that is incredibly popular in New York right now, but he purposely connected it to his crowning achievement by saying he would trade in his catch to stop same-sex marriage. In one comment he took his biggest asset and turned it into his biggest liability.
Due to his Super Bowl heroics, David Tyree was a hero among Giants fans. He could have spent the next 15 years making personal appearances, signing autographs, even giving speeches on seizing the moment. It could have been incredibly lucrative for him. And although he’s a former pro athlete, I’m guessing that given his limited NFL career, he wouldn’t have minded the extra income. Now that revenue stream is in serious jeopardy. While some fans will still pay for those appearances, autographs and speeches, there are many who will not. In short, he’s hurt his long-term marketability. Maybe he didn’t care about that, but if he did, even a little bit, this was the wrong approach to take.
Ultimately, there were ways Tyree could have handled this better as an opponent of same-sex marriage. Avoiding hypocrisy, stocking up on facts and statistics, and focusing on the realistic ramifications are all things that could have at least allowed Tyree to come across as a concerned citizen voicing an opinion. His approach involved none of those tactics. But in truth, the best thing he could have done was keep his mouth shut. He’s getting more publicity than he has since the week after he made that historic catch in the Super Bowl, but for all the wrong reasons.
For Tyree, there is no going back on this, because he’s made it clear this is what he believes. And there is no way to suggest this was just a bad moment or a quote taken out of context. He’s going to have to live with this one. Hopefully he’s okay with that.