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Media Meltdowns

Tony Dungy Believed The Whole “Litter Boxes In Schools” Hoax [Update]

NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy speaks during a segment prior to the 2022 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium on August 04, 2022 in Canton, Ohio.
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Sunday Night Football analyst Tony Dungy showed more life in a reply to a Daily Wire tweet than he did for the entirety of the Chargers-Jaguars game. In response to a video of Minnesota State Representative Sandra Feist pushing for menstrual products in all school bathrooms, the former NFL head coach jumped in the conversation on Wednesday with a now-deleted post about the whole "litter boxes in schools" hoax.

Screenshot via @normcharlatan

What Dungy is explaining is about as real as a dog ghost haunting Michael Vick. The lie seemed to start around a school in Canada in late 2021, but it has persisted in the U.S. through the 2022 midterm elections because of Republican kooks like Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert. The only instance of cat litter in a school found by an NBC News report published this past October was in Jefferson County (Colo.) school district: The item was part of a bucket of emergency supplies that would allow students to go to the bathroom in the event of a lockdown caused by a school shooting. No amount of fact-checking matters to these people, though. The whole function of saying something like this is to ridicule the fight for transgender rights in schools and treat trans people as less than human.

If someone on the street told you that schools were providing litter boxes for kids who identify as cats, you'd cross the road. Dungy is the sort of dope who'd stop and listen. For years he has campaigned against same-sex marriage, criticized and ostracized openly gay athletes, and has raised money for the Indiana Family Institute, an organization committed to fighting against the right for gay people to adopt children. In his post-coaching career, Dungy became a "freelance moral compass." There were plenty of people he was willing to judge.

Dungy erased the "litter box" tweet hours after posting it, so perhaps he listened to the large number of people who told him it was fake. Maybe someone at his employer told him to stick to dog ghosts. (When reached by Defector, an NBC Sports spokesperson said they'd look into it. We'll update the post if they follow up.) Whatever the reason for the deletion, the experience didn't seem to change anything. The way Dungy chooses who's worthy of respect has never been consistent, but his underlying politics stay the same:

Update (7:23 p.m. ET): A spokesperson for Tony Dungy sent the following statement Thursday night: “I saw a tweet yesterday and I responded to it in the wrong way. As a Christian I should speak in love and in ways that are caring and helpful. I failed to do that and I am deeply sorry.”

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