Actually, Vincent Thomas Lombardi treated his Green Bay Packers and Washington Redskins as anything but [dogs]. No, winning wasn't everything, or the only thing. In Lombardi's playbook, winning placed a distant second to simple human decency.In 1969, the year before his death, the only year he coached the Redskins, Lombardi worked with at least five gay men -- three players and two front-office executives, including David Slattery, who would come out in 1993. In his defining biography, "When Pride Still Mattered," author David Maraniss described the scene of Lombardi charging an assistant to work with one of the gay players, a struggling back named Ray McDonald. "And if I hear one of you people make reference to his manhood," Lombardi is quoted as saying, "you'll be out of here before your ass hits the ground."
Of course the homosexuals have a rich history of "outing" long-dead celebrities and historical figures, including Joan of Arc, Abraham Lincoln and James Dean. So this is standard operating procedure. It's much easier to assert the "fact" that somebody is just like you or unequivocally agrees with your personal views when that person is no long around to correct you on the matter.
I suppose the fact that Lombardi famously emphasized a man's sense of responsibility to his God, his family and his football team, in that order, does nothing to dissuade these molders of our new cultural reality.
I recall reading a book about Lombardi's Packers and the notoriously tough coach is running a practice or a training camp exercise or something and he walks up to a glassy-eyed Marv Fleming, the starting tight end, gets right in his face and accusingly asks, "Have you been masturbating mister?"
It's a comical anecdote that highlights Lombardi's ultra-serious approach to football. I took it to mean he thought something was off about poor Marv. Turns out ole Vince was extremely supportive of his lifestyle choice and wanted to give him a hug. Who knew?