By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com July 23 2014 2:14 PM ET
The Human Rights Campaign is taking the New York Giants to task for defending antigay activist David Tyree — the team's new director of player development — who once said he would rather have lost the Super Bowl than allow gay and lesbian couples to marry because it would lead to anarchy.
It was revealed that Tyree had had a history of statements and tweets opposing LGBT rights, including a 2011 tweet in which he asserted that people can change their sexual orientation that there is "no scientific data to support the claim of being born gay." The practice of so-called conversion therapy has been debunked by every major medical and psychological organization in the country, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, and the American Psychological Association.
In 2013, Tyree said, "I don't agree with [gay marriage] because God doesn't agree with it. As a Christian, I don't agree. Society may be changing but God is not. This is not personal. I could still be in a locker room with a gay man and still love him as a teammate. I can be tolerant, but the problem is people aren't tolerant of the views people like me have. If you don't agree with that lifestyle, you're a bigot. I'm not a bigot. I have different viewpoints."
Human Rights Campaign 0resident Chad Griffin said Tyree's words were "downright dangerous," in a statement issued by the organization Wednesday.
“David Tyree is seen as a role model by countless fans across the country," Griffin said. "By promoting these harmful personal views shrouded as facts, there’s no question that he’s inflicting lasting damage on individuals — especially young people victimized by adults who see his words as license to try and ‘cure’ their homosexuality with physical and psychological torture tactics.”
Tyree made a crucial catch during the Giants' Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots in 2007. An earlier statement from the Giants said that Tyree's opinions do not reflect that of the team. Still, Giants general manager Jerry Reese said in a press conference Wednesday that Tyree would remain on the payroll.
"He's a terrific fit for us and we're happy to have him on board," he said. "Sometimes you say some things that maybe you don't want to say or shouldn't have said and things can get blown out of proportion to a degree. But I'm not here to talk about social issues or somebody's personal opinion about their beliefs."