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July 23, 2014

Category: Campus & Young Adult, Coming Out, Health & Aging

NY Giants Defend David Tyree After Heinous Anti-Gay Comments Come to Light

WASHINGTON – Today at a press conference, New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese defended the organization’s new Director of Player Development, David Tyree, even after it was discovered that he had repeatedly promoted the dangerous and debunked idea that a person can or should try to change their sexual orientation.  Saying, "He's a terrific fit for us and we're happy to have him on board," Reese went on to defend Tyree by arguing, "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."  

Since yesterday's revelation of Tyree's dangerous tweets, another more onerous one has surfaced.  In a tweet, Tyree promotes research done by an undergraduate student at Liberty University, who was studying Dr. Paul Cameron’s theories on “causes of homosexuality.”  Some of the theories included on the page shared by Tyree include “a dominant, possessive, or rejecting mother,” “precocious or excessive masturbation,” and “societal and legal toleration of homosexual acts,” among many others.  Dr. Cameron’s work and theories on sexual orientation have been widely panned, and in 1983 he was expelled from the American Psychological Association. 

“The suggestion that LGBT people should somehow try to change an immutable aspect of their identity is not just silly, it’s downright dangerous,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.  “David Tyree is seen as a role model by countless fans across the country. 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.”

Yesterday 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.  

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.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

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