In response to the recent kerfuffle regarding New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees filming a video PSA for the virulently anti-LGBTQ group Focus on the Family, New Orleans sports radio host Seth Dunlap penned a thoughtful, candid open letter to the Super Bowl MVP.
In the essay, posted to Dunlap’s personal Facebook page, he took time to express his sympathy for Brees’s position after catching blowback for the “Bring Your Bible to School Day” video.
Dunlap noted Brees’ public position of his personal Christian faith and acknowledged the quarterback most probably had no idea of the ugly policies promoting by Focus on the Family which include battling marriage equality, the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, any anti-bullying programs and enacting hate crime laws.
But the open letter also addressed Brees’ response to the backlash he received wherein the quarterback clapped back “negativity spread about” him by folks who pointed out the uncomfortable connection between a football hero and a group certified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.
I won’t dissect Dunlap’s full essay here, but I encourage you to read it here.
Thoughtful, pensive, and very non-adversarial, the radio host picks up on a word used by Brees in his response – ‘shame’ – and connects it to shame he’s experienced at times being an openly gay man.
At every turn in the letter, Dunlap is respectful in his attempt to perhaps educate Brees on who and what Focus on the Family represents to the LGBTQ community.
So it must have come as a shock to the sports radio show host when the Twitter account for his own station tweeted an ugly response to him.
After posting a topic to listeners on his Twitter account asking “Which of these 5 ‘overreactions’ isn’t actually an overreaction?’ in the sports world, Dunlap received a response (that was quickly deleted) reading, “That you’re a f*g.”
It would take about five hours for the station to address the homophobic tweet.
This was the statement issued via tweet – please note that there is no apology to Mr. Dunlap included.
“We are aware of a tweet that went out today from the WWL account,” read the statement. “The content of the tweet is categorically offensive and abhorrent to the station. We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred.”
We are aware of a tweet that went out today from the WWL account. The content of the tweet is categorically offensive and abhorrent to the station. We are actively investigating this incident and will take swift and appropriate action once we determine how this occurred.
— WWL Radio (@WWLAMFM) September 11, 2019
Listeners were not impressed with the non-apology:
1. We know HOW it happened.
2. You owe Seth Dunlap an unqualified apology.
— Brucifer H. Brisket (@nolanolegal) September 11, 2019
You send this out and do not publicly apologize to @sethdunlap. Shame on you.
— Gary Traylor (@gt7625) September 11, 2019
— JP (@Parikh001) September 11, 2019
“WWL sincerely apologizes to Mr. Dunlap.” There … fixed it for you.
— Robert Broussard (@robearbroussard) September 11, 2019
This is a master class in how not to do damage control. Apologize to Seth!
— Nils Breckoff (@nilsbreckoff) September 11, 2019
Why no apology to Seth Dunlap? Asking for someone with integrity..
— carole ryan (@diamond12154) September 11, 2019
For his part, Dunlap played the classy move and stayed above the fray:
I’m just going to really enjoy knowing somebody is exceptionally upset I get to talk sports every night for a living pic.twitter.com/z5zlvfZRH0
— Seth Dunlap (@sethdunlap) September 10, 2019
Big Easy Magazine notes that when Dunlap opened his show on Tuesday night, he focused on how Monday night’s Saints game brought everyone together.
“White, Black, Latinx, men, women, straight, gay – nobody caring,” said the veteran radio host. “If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to be a part of something like that, it could be a truly religious experience. And that camaraderie, that togetherness, is what makes sports so special. We can set everything aside and just be ourselves.”
Bravo, Mr. Dunlap, bravo.