David Tyree is famous for one of the most memorable catches in Super Bowl history. However, since his former team hired him for the front office this week, some are saying the New York Giants have dropped the ball.
On Tuesday, the Giants named Tyree — who made a spectacular, against-the-helmet reception in the Giants’ Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots to cap the 2007 season — as director of player development. Shortly thereafter, NJ.com brought up Tyree’s views on homosexuality as expressed in a series of tweets three years ago, in which he touted gay conversion therapy — a practice mostly discounted by the medical community — and rejected the idea of being gay as anything other than a person’s choice.
During a Twitter exchange about the connection between the gay rights and civil rights movements, Tyree responded: "I’ll never be a former black. I have met former homosexuals."
The Human Rights Campaign said the Giants made a mistake in hiring Tyree for the front-office position.
"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," Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin said in the statement (via ESPN.com). "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."
The Giants said Tyree’s views were his own and not that of the club. General manager Jerry Reese said Tyree was qualified for the job and "sometimes you say some things that maybe you don’t want to say or you shouldn’t have said or something like that, and things can get blown out of proportion."
Within a couple of days, however, Tyree said he had been speaking with Wade Davis, a former NFL cornerback who is now a gay activist and adviser to gay rookie Michael Sam, and "My interactions with Wade over the past few months are much more representative of my current beliefs toward the gay community than some tweets from several years ago. … I would absolutely support any player on the Giants who identified as gay, in any way I could."
At SI.com, Davis wrote about developing a friendship with Tyree and expressed his support.