The Colts released a statement yesterday in response to Coach Dungy's appearance at the Indiana Family Institute's banquet and the controversy that has arisen because of it. I actually think it's a pretty darn good statement. While they defend Dungy's right to free speech (which we all agree is important - we're using that same right to criticize Dungy), they also point out that all fans are important to the club:
We have received your correspondence of concern regarding any connection between the Indianapolis Colts and organizations that have taken a position with respect to SJR-7, the proposed Indiana constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions. The club does not take positions regarding this issue or any political issue in which it is not directly involved. Furthermore, the Colts do not endorse any political or religious position taken by any group to which a Colts employee decides to speak for or lend his/her name. That being said, we fully support the right of our employees to freely express their opinions on matters which are important to them.
We regret that you have been offended but hope that you agree that one of the tenets of our country's foundation is the right of individuals to form their opinions and then exercise their right to make them known. While our organization does not take a position on the issue of same-sex marriage and civil unions, we believe Coach Dungy's has the right to express his opinion.
The Colts value all of our fans who cheered us on to a Super Bowl victory, no matter their sexual orientation. We do not want any fans feeling unwanted or unappreciated. We respect all citizens of the state of Indiana - and we would ask that while this debate continues, our fans and critics respect each other as well.
What are your thoughts on the statement?
[UPDATE:] Pam's House Blend has a story up about a petition drive by Focus on the Family to defend Coach Dungy's endorsement of the IFI complete with video of Dungy's speech. FoF is the parent organization for IFI. They're the organization that claims the SpongeBob SquarePants makes kids gay... *sigh*