A gay-rights organization has denounced the New York Giants for hiring — and defending — former player David Tyree after he said he believes some people can change their sexual orientation.
“David Tyree is seen as a role model by countless fans across the country,” said Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, referring to Mr. Tyree’s famous “helmet” catch in 2008 that helped the Giants beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
However, he has not only spoken against gay marriage, but he has repeatedly promoted the “dangerous” idea that a person can or should try to change their sexual orientation, Mr. Griffin said.
“By promoting these harmful personal views … he’s inflicting lasting damage on individuals — especially young people victimized by adults who see his words a license to try and ‘cure’ their homosexuality with physical and psychological torture tactics,” Mr. Griffin said.
Some of the tweets in question were written in 2011.
Mr. Tyree, a devout Christian who is married with seven children, disagreed with a message he received about how sexual orientation is “not a choice.”
Mr. Tyree replied that “there are many former homosexual men and women in this country & no scientific data to support the claim of being born gay.”
Earlier this month, Mr. Tyree bemoaned the plight of single Christian women because so many men are “either immature or effeminate.” “#StayTheCourse #Wait OnTheLord,” he advised.
At a Wednesday press conference, New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese defended Mr. Tyree as their new director of player development, saying, “he’s a terrific fit for us and we’re happy to have him on board.”
The Giants also issued a statement Tuesday saying that Mr. Tyree was “expressing his personal view, and that is not the view of the Giants’ organization.”
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said the HRC was acting intolerantly and ignoring Mr. Tyree’s constitutional rights to freedom of speech and freedom of religion.
Gay activists are trying to “silence public figures for espousing tradition beliefs on sexuality,” said Mr. Donohue. “It must be resisted, especially by people of faith,” he said.
New Jersey is one of two states that forbids state-licensed counselors from providing sexual-orientation “change” therapy to minors, out of fears the teens will be harmed. The Giants play their home games in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Groups representing change-therapy counselors — who say they only talk with clients — and former homosexuals have helped squelch these bans in as many as eight states in recent months.
• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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