Tuesday afternoon, the New York Giants announced the hiring of former wide receiver David Tyree to be their new Director of Player Development. Tyree, who is best remembered for his “Helmet Catch” in Super Bowl XLII, replaces Charles Way in the position. Way left the team to accept a league position as Head of the NFL’s Player Engagement Department earlier in July. Tyree will work primarily in a non-football role where he will have many responsibilities, most of them related to helping players develop skills necessary for personal success and life after football.
The hiring has quickly sparked some controversy due to Tyree’s history of public commentary about homosexuals. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released a statement questioning the hiring and responding to claims by Tyree that he knew “former homosexuals.” HRC President Chad Griffin asked:
“When did Tyree decide to be straight? The idea that someone can change their sexual orientation or gender identity is ludicrous, and the New York Giants are risking their credibility by hiring someone who publicly advocates this junk science. His opposition to basic legal equality aside, David Tyree’s proselytizing of such dangerous practices goes against the positive work the Giants organization has done in recent years.”
The New York Daily News reached out to the Giants for a statement regarding Tyree’s comments. The Giants responded by saying:
“He was expressing his personal view, and that is not the view of the Giants organization.”
At this time it does not appear that the Giants have responded further or directly addressed the HRC statement.
ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo reported that upon request for statement, Tyree indicated he had nothing to say regarding the HRC statement.
David Tyree on HRC statement and outcry over his anti-gay comments: “I don’t have any comment about it. I’m just excited to be with #NYG”
— Mike Mazzeo (@MazzESPN) July 22, 2014
New York Daily News Giants writer Ebenezer Samuel also tweeted Tuesday night that Giants GM Jerry Reese will be speaking to the media on Wednesday, but it’s possible this meeting had been scheduled far in advance of any controversy.
Aaaaaaand, tomorrow, the GM, Jerry Reese, will speak to the media. Mark it down on your calendars… — Ebenezer Samuel (@ebenezersamuel) July 23, 2014
Regardless of whether people agree or disagree with Tyree’s views or the HRC’s position, this hiring seems uncharacteristic of the Giants organization. Tyree was a Super Bowl hero, but his public statements and views were well known for the wrong reasons. It does not seem like the Giants’ way to invite controversy into their conservative franchise. It’s reasonable to ask how Tyree would react if he needed to work with a gay player, but it is less reasonable to assume we know the answer to that question.