Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy thought actress Nicollette Sheridan revealed more than her body when she dropped a towel and jumped into the arms of Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Terrell Owens in a promotion for Desperate Housewives during the opening of Monday Night Football.
The Indianapolis Colts coach believed the skit also exposed the hypocrisy of ABC Sports and the NFL and portrayed the league's players as "sexual predators" in a racially insensitive way.
"Any player, I would have been outraged, but the fact it was a black player, me, as an African-American man, I was hurt even more," Dungy told Indianapolis reporters after practice yesterday.
The rhetoric over the issue escalated at the end of a teleconference yesterday about Sunday's Bears-Colts game.
Dungy blasted the network and the league for the inappropriateness of the skit and the racial overtones it carried.
Apologies issued by ABC, the NFL and the Eagles did not go far enough in the eyes of Dungy, who brought up the Kobe Bryant rape case in raising objections to the portrayal of black athletes cavorting with white women.
"I was offended [because] No. 1, I think it was racial," Dungy said. "I don't think they would have had Bill Parcells or Andy Reid or one of the owners involved in that. I think it's just trying to stereotype our players and put them in a bad light."
In the scene, Sheridan finally succeeds in persuading Owens to miss the game when she drops the towel.
The Colts had declined an ABC request one week earlier to use players in an unspecified but similar pre-game skit before their Nov. 8 game against the Minnesota Vikings. It annoyed Dungy that he had to explain the Sheridan-Owens scene to his 12-year-old son.
"People will say this is no different than what's on standard TV, and I agree with that," Dungy said. "We're not providing standard TV. I just think ABC and the NFL took advantage of our players to promote something that benefited them at the expense of our players, and I think that's wrong."
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