My Sportsman: Tony Dungy
Dungy has credibility, which is about as rare a commodity as there is in sports these days. He doesn't fib and he doesn't spin, he simply lives up to his word and sticks to his principles. A man like that tends to be respected. His opinions tend to be valued. A man like that can contribute a great deal more to society than merely coaching a football team, and Dungy has spent most of 2009 proving exactly that.
He has sat with inmates in prison yards, trying to offer them hope, to help them become more than just another sad statistic. He has supported a jobs program that helps connect ex-convicts with potential employers. He published a book,
Maybe you're not so sure that last accomplishment of Dungy's is such a good thing. Maybe you're not exactly thrilled to have Vick back in pro football. But when you heard that Dungy was going to bat for him, you at least had to wonder if maybe there was something redeemable in Vick after all, didn't you? Because after all, someone like Dungy wouldn't advocate for him unless he saw something there worth saving. Who else in sports could have helped rehabilitate Vick's image merely by associating with him? Who else has shown so much compassion for men who might have been considered lost causes? Who else has earned such trust from the public? Who else is more deserving of being named Sportsman of the Year?
You do not have to agree with all of Dungy's political views, some of which are quite conservative, to respect the man who holds them. He lends a certain dignity to everything he touches, which is why President
Besides, he needs some room in his schedule for that family time with his wife and five children that he talked about. Despite his other commitments, he's also found time to make weekday trips to the zoo with one of his daughters, attend the family birthday parties he always missed because they fell during football season, and watch his son play high school football. Dungy is doing exactly what he said he would do. But then, you knew he would, didn't you?