Clark Judge: ‘Dungy’s Comments Have No Bearing On Hall Of Fame Candidacy’
Clark Judge has been an NFL Hall of Fame voter for the last five years, and he feels that Tony Dungy – who last year was a Canton finalist – will not be penalized by Hall voters for his recent comments about Michael Sam.
Not one bit.
“They’re not going to affect him at all,” the NFL expert extraordinaire said on The John Feinstein Show. “He’ll be judged by what he did on the field. It’ll be (based on his Super Bowl and the) legacy that he had in terms of the coaching tree that he spread out. He’s not judged on his comments today. He’s judged on his football career – and I think that’s the way it should be.”
Feinstein finds this somewhat hard to believe. There is no character clause for the NFL Hall of Fame, but there are 46 voters. Does Judge really feel that none of them will be at all influenced by Dungy’s comments, which many people found off-putting?
“If this comes into play, how does a guy like Lawrence Taylor get in?” Judge asked.
To be fair, Taylor was a sure-fire Hall of Famer. Dungy, meanwhile, has a great case, but it’s not a slam dunk.
Still, Judge is confident.
“You’ve got a guy like Bill Parcells (in the Hall),” Judge said. “People said he was such a jerk – he did this, he did that. And he did. But the fact of the matter is, can you write the history of pro football without Bill Parcells, and the answer is no, you cannot. Can you write it without Tony Dungy? I would say no, you cannot.”
“Honestly, (this) is going to have no bearing on his Hall of Fame candidacy,” Judge continued. “Would somebody in the back of his head (think about it next year during voting)? Yeah, I’m sure they will. A lot of people will. Would it cause them not to vote for him? I would hope not. I would hope they would vote for what he did as a head coach and administrator of an organization.”
All of that said, Judge was surprised by Dungy’s comments.
“I think if I were Tony Dungy, I wish I had said what I did Tuesday rather than what I said Monday,” Judge explained. “What he said Tuesday made a lot of sense to me. What he said Monday, I don’t know. Now, I will say this: On the face of it, I understand what he’s saying. The same thing was said about Tim Tebow. Nobody had any problems with people saying, ‘The circus is coming to town. I don’t want to be a part of it.’”
The problem is, Dungy supported Tebow. He also supported Michael Vick.
“There was no bigger distraction than Michael Vick,” Judge said. “He was an ex-con that Tony Dungy championed. So how do you come down on Michael Vick’s side and say you wouldn’t take on (Michael Sam)? I was in Philadelphia when Michael Vick was there. It was a cluster of reporters every day. ESPN was falling over itself trying to (make him the lead) of SportsCenter.”
Complicating matters is that Dungy, a devout Christian, disagrees with Sam’s lifestyle.
Well, there’s a pretty good chance that Dungy coached some players who committed adultery. Is Dungy okay with that lifestyle?
“You’ve got wife beaters, you’ve got people who are committing crimes, you’ve got a couple owners who are in trouble – but you wouldn’t take this on because of the distraction?” Judge asked. “Something just doesn’t jive when you stood behind Michael Vick and probably stood behind others in both locker rooms where you were – and yet you find fault here. The inconsistency is the problem I have with it.”