NBC Sports analyst Tony Dungy found himself navigating a social media minefield this week after his commentary on the Christian faith of Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles.

Twitter followers were none too pleased with Mr. Dungy this week over his coverage of Super Bowl LII’s Most Valuable Player. The “Football Night in America” commentator riled followers by congratulating the Eagles before writing, “Nick Foles told me last week that he felt the Lord had him in Philadelphia for a special moment and he played like it tonight.”

The next 48 hours included questions about Mr. Dungy’s Christian faith, his journalistic integrity, and the meaning of his original tweet.

“@TonyDungy unbelievable you would use your employer, @NBCSports, to spout this nonsense on the air,” wrote one critic on Monday.

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“I’m just not wanting it as a part of football analysis. Humans are not the Holy Spirit,” added Stephanie Stradley of the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday.

“If player told you he worshiped Satan & felt strongly that was reason he succeed would you report that?” asked another. “Or his sincere belief that there was no God and that gives him great clarity by limiting distraction — would you report that? I HIGHLY DOUBT IT. You are a self serving fraud.”

Why would you find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit could speak to Nick Foles just as much as a coach could speak to him? If he credited a coach for saying “Stay calm and be confident” that’s good. But if he tells me Christ says that to him I shouldn’t report it??? https://t.co/I7P4IU26GH
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) February 6, 2018

Mr. Dungy parried the inquiries in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

“NBC pays me to express my opinion. And it was my opinion that Nick Foles would play well because his Christian faith would allow him to to play with confidence. And that he’s a good QB. I think I was right on both counts,” he wrote. “Why would you find it hard to believe that the Holy Spirit could speak to Nick Foles just as much as a coach could speak to him? If he credited a coach for saying ‘Stay calm and be confident,’ that’s good. But if he tells me Christ says that to him I shouldn’t report it?”

The famous NFL coach — his teams made the playoffs each of his last 10 seasons — then dismissed the idea that his faith prevents him accurately reporting the news.

“If NBC sent me to do a story on you I would report exactly what you told me,” Mr. Dungy said in response to the satanist comment. “I wouldn’t try to paint you as something you’re not. Can we do the same for the Christian players?”

Foles took over for the Eagles’ starting quarterback Carson Wentz late in the season after he was sidelined with an injury. He led the Eagles to a 41-33 victory over five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady of the New England Patriots.

NBC pays me to express my opinion. And it was my opinion that Nick Foles would play well because his Christian faith would allow him to to play with confidence. And that he’s a good QB. I think I was right on both counts. https://t.co/4HOfXt78UZ
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) February 6, 2018

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