Super Bowl winning coach and 2016 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee Tony Dungy appeared with ESPNs Mike & Mike to discuss Ezekiel Elliott and Colin Kaepernick. Dungy has always been a high profile African-American NFL figure, who is a strong proponent of diversity and strong moral character.
His opinions on race and other social issues, particularly as they pertain to the NFL, is a respected one. Dungy was very instrumental in facilitating Mike Vicks reintegration into society and the NFL after serving time in prison for dog fighting.
Dungy, who led the Tampa Bay Bucs and Indianapolis Colts for 13 seasons, was asked how he would handle the Ezekiel Elliott suspension if he was head coach.
Id have a couple of messages, Dungy said. The first would be, we are in your corner. Youre on our team. Youre one of our guys and we’re going to stand behind you. Well try to get this figured out and will go to the league and do everything we can to help.
But No. 2 is, you have to take some ownership of this Zeke, and youve got to not put yourself in position to have this happen…for you and secondly your teammates.
I think the message to Zeke is you can’t continue to put yourself into position where these kinds of things come up.” -Tony Dungy
Dungy was then asked about players protesting by kneeling during the anthem and African-American coaches like Hue Jackson saying he doesnt want his players kneeling for the anthem.
How would Dungy handle the situation if it was his team?
I think you have a team meeting, probably last year when it all started coming to light and you talk to the guys, Dungy said. Hey heres whats going on. I appreciate your feelings. Lets do this..think about what you want to do and how you want to attack this. Think about how you can make the situation better. If you really believe that kneeling for the national anthem on game day will bring some attention to this, will illuminate your point or help make the situation better, then Im behind you. We will all stand behind you, but dont just do it because everyone else is doing it.