Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Indiana Democratic Party spokeswoman attacks Indianapolis Colts coach

Jennifer Wagner, Communications Director for the Indiana Democratic Party, attacks coach Tony Dungy of the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts on her personal blog. Why? Because Dungy will be speaking at the annual fundraising dinner for the Indiana Family Institute. Wagner accuses the IFI of "neverending right-wing nutballery", and suggests that the Colts "nip this in the bud".

As I've said before, I am not a fan of the Indianapolis Colts because of the tax increase that brought them buckets of corporate welfare money. That was one of the reasons that I was rooting for Chicago in the Super Bowl, along with having been a Bears fan since 1985 and the fact that Chicago's quarterback is from Bloomington. However, I respect the people involved in the Colts organization, especially Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning.

Dungy is not going to speak before the Nation of Islam or the Ku Klux Klan. The Indiana Family Institute is a Christian organization that believes in Biblical sexual morality. They do not advocate hatred against homosexuals or anyone else, but they (like Bloomington's State Representative Peggy Welch, a Democrat) do oppose efforts to get the government to recognize homosexual marriage. That opinion is also held by a majority of Hoosiers. IFI president Curt Smith is the former Chief of Staff for Congressman John Hostettler.

In the comments section of her post, Wagner writes:

If the Colts and Dungy are okay with this image, then so be it, but I can't imagine why they'd risk alienating fans over something like this.

Is Dungy going as an official representative of the Colts, or is he going on his own time? If it is the latter, does Wagner expect the Colts to shut down the political activity of the players and coaching staff or have such activities pre-approved by Colts management? By the same token, is it wise for the Indiana Democratic Party to risk alienating voters by allowing their Communications Director to criticize the popular coach of the Colts, especially when Colts Mania is in such high gear?

In the "about" section of the blog, Wagner identifies her position with the Indiana Democratic Party and says that "opinions expressed on the site are hers, not the party's, and IDP does not sanction anything that appears here." This is reasonable; TDW is her personal blog. Why can't Wagner offer the same courtesy to Tony Dungy and the Indianapolis Colts that she expects for herself?