Tony Dungy's Apologies for 'Litterboxes in School Restrooms' Claim Slammed

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday January 26, 2023
Originally published on January 26, 2023

Tony Dungy
Tony Dungy  (Source:Screenshot/Tony Dungy/Facebook)

Tony Dungy, a former and coach to both the Colts and the Buccaneers and current NBC sports commentator, sent out his apologies after he tweeted (then deleted) a claim about litter boxes being placed in school restrooms to accommodate students who "identify" as cats. But those mea culpas fell far short for some.

"This past week I posted a tweet that I subsequently deleted," Dungy posted at Twitter on Jan. 21. "I issued an apology but not everyone saw it. So I am reposting my apology here."

"As a Christian I want to be a force for love to everyone," Dungy added. "A force for healing and reconciliation-not for animosity."

The tweet included the text of an earlier apology in which Dungy said he had "responded to it in the wrong way" and added, "As a Christian I should speak in love and in ways that are helpful and caring. I failed to do that and I am deeply sorry."


he New York Post detailed that in his now-deleted tweet, Dungy responded to a post about Minnesota state lawmaker Sandra Feist calling for female hygiene products to be stocked in boys' school restrooms as as well as girls' restrooms because, Feist noted, "Not all students who menstruate are female."

In his response, Dungy repeated thoroughly debunked claim from the hard right that schools have begun supplying litter boxes for students who claim a "cat gender".

Ending on a note of sarcasm, Dungy's post added: "Very important to address every student's needs."

SB Nation called out the apologies. Calling Dungy's tweet a "cruel, factless anti-LGBT tweet," SB Nation declared, "What Dungy shared was not an effective apology. Not even close."

SB Nation pointed out that "Dungy does not mention the LGBT community who was most-harmed by his tweet. It was LGBT people he was clearly targeting with the debunked claim of kids 'identifying' as cats and needing litter boxes."

That wasn't all; the outlet also raked the statement for what the publication perceived as a lack of sincerity, stating, "there is nothing regretful about this statement other than getting caught sharing his mean-spirited anti-LGBT beliefs out loud."

NBC Sports has "elected not to remove the Pro Football Hall of Fame coach-turned-analyst from its 'Football Night in America' show," Sporting News noted.

NBC News did, however, address the controversy with a news item that reported, "In an email to NBC News on Tuesday, an NBC Sports spokesperson stated: 'NBC Sports does not support or condone the views expressed in the tweet and we have made that clear to Tony.' "

"For followers of Dungy on Twitter, the cat litter tweet came as no surprise," NBC News went on to report, citing "at least a dozen tweets from Dungy's account, from 2012 to 2022, that are critical of same-sex marriage, homosexuality and the LGBTQ 'lifestyle.' "

The article also took note that "NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and NBC Sports Executive Producer and President Sam Flood sent an email to staffers, which was shared with NBC News.

"In the memo, the executives acknowledged that Dungy shared a tweet that 'perpetuated a debunked myth belittling to transgender people' and noted that the tweet was deleted and that Dungy apologized directly to his NBC Sports production team."

"Again, not to LGBT people," SB Nation pointed out.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.