NFL Hall of Famer and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy issued a correction to ESPN SportsCenter’s X account following 19-year-old American Coco Gauff’s first U.S. Open victory.
Gauff handily defeated Aryna Sabalenka on Saturday night and, after the match, knelt with hands clasped and eyes closed in a fashion that most would associate with prayer. However, ESPN did not see Gauff’s solemn moment as prayerful and insisted that she was taking “a moment to soak it all in after winning her first Grand Slam title.”
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 9, 2023
Dungy, no stranger to engaging with others on matters of religion, religious freedom, and all things involving Christianity, captioned the post and told SportsCenter they got it all wrong.
“I hate to break this to you SportsCenter but Coco Gauff was not ‘soaking it all in’ at this moment,” Dungy wrote. “She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here.”
I hate to break this to you SportsCenter but Coco Gauff was not “soaking it all in” at this moment. She was praying. She has been very open about her Christian faith in the past. It seems pretty obvious what she is doing here. https://t.co/UOZ6zoCEPC
— Tony Dungy (@TonyDungy) September 10, 2023
Like Dungy, Gaufff is no stranger to discussing her faith in public.
“Oh my goodness. It means so much to me,” Gauff explained after winning her first Grand Slam title. “I feel like I’m a little bit in shock in this moment. That French Open loss was a heartbreak for me. I realized God puts you through tribulations and trials. This makes this moment even more sweeter than I could imagine.
“I don’t pray for results. I just ask that I get the strength to give it my all. Whatever happens, happens. I’m so blessed in this life. I’m just thankful for this moment. I don’t have any words for it, to be honest.”
Gauff and Serena Williams are the only two American tennis players to have won the U.S. Open at 19. Williams accomplished the feat in 2001.