- July 22, 2014
Post submitted by Charlie Joughin, HRC Press Secretary
Today the New York Giants announced that former player David Tyree would be the organization’s next Director of Player Development. In 2011 during the public campaign surrounding marriage equality legislation in the New York state legislature, Tyree stated that he would have rather lost the Super Bowl than allow gay and lesbian couples to legally marry, claiming that it would lead to “anarchy.” He then took to social media, where he repeatedly promoted the idea that a person can change their sexual orientation. This practice has been debunked and condemned by every major medical and mental health organization in the country, including the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, and many others.
"When did Tyree decide to be straight?" asked HRC President Chad Griffin. "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."
In recent years, the two most prominent advocates for reparative therapy have apologized for the harm they caused. Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, considered by many to be the father of modern psychiatry, retracted and apologized for the years he spent suggesting that homosexuality could be cured, saying that it was the only regret of his career. And Exodus International, an organization solely dedicated to promoting reparative therapy, closed its doors in June 2013, with President Alan Chambers repudiating the organization's mission and announcing he would begin advocating for churches to become welcoming spaces for LGBT people.
Beyond studies focused solely on reparative therapy, broader research clearly demonstrates the significant harm that societal prejudice and family rejection has on LGBT people, particularly youth. Furthermore, there is significant evidence of harm to LGBT people resulting from attempts to change their sexual orientation. Based on this body of evidence, every major medical and mental health organization in the United States has issued a statement condemning the use of reparative therapy. Furthermore, the World Health Organization calls the practice "a serious threat to the health and well-being — even the lives — of affected people."
David Tyree was a wide receiver for the 2007 Super Bowl champion New York Giants, and became famous as the hero who won the game with a spectacular catch. Tyree later stated he would trade the catch and the Giants’ Super Bowl victory in order to restrict marriage from gay and lesbian couples, referring to the debate on legislation in New York that allowed same-sex couples to wed.
In a video recorded for the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage (NOM), Tyree stated, "What I know will happen if this does come forth is this will be the beginning of our country sliding toward, it is a strong word, but anarchy."
No credible individual believes that there will be anarchy in America if marriage equality is extended nationwide, as is evidenced by recent polling conducted by HRC.
"As a player, David Tyree made clear that his misguided personal views trump his responsibility to his teammates and his employer," continued HRC’s Griffin. "Tens of thousands of committed and loving gay and lesbian couples have wed in America over the last ten years, and Mr. Tyree is undoubtedly still holding his breath waiting for society to crumble."