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On Tebow, McCoy and Faith in Athletes

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After the recent debacle in Cleveland where yet another sports star revealed a cruel and manipulative side to millions who thought he was different, there now arrive two new quarterbacks in the NFL to take the place of Kurt Warner and to add to the ranks of folks like Drew Brees who are wonderful on and off the field, and made so in the latter case by their commitment to God and the commandments of a life lived as though God is real and very much interested in the choices we all make on this planet.

One, thank goodness, is with my club, the Cleveland Browns. Colt McCoy is expected to play much this year, but with Joe Thomas and a great core group of young athletes, the Browns will soon be reminding everyone that Cleveland is a football town first and foremost, making the forgetting of the other guy much easier.

The other arrival is of course Tim Tebow. Sadly, Tebow now plays for the Broncos, which along with the Steelers, the Bengals and the Ravens, are the four horsemen of the football apocalypse for Browns fans, and probably the most feared of the bunch because of their cruel hold over the Browns in playoff memory.

Tebow is the subject of the most clicked upon article in today’s Denver Post, where the newspaper has worked overtime to find someone who hates him because of his deep Christian faith.

Imagine finding a Bronco fan who hated a black athlete because of his race. Would such a story see the light of day? Would that bigoted fan be in any way held up and even celebrated as just one side of a debate that will rage for a while among sports fans?

There is no doubt an anti-Christian fringe among the NFL fans, though I suspect my family’s experience growing up is far more representative of America –you went to early Mass and then you left for the hour drive to the stadium. I am sure the NFL has some research hidden away in a drawer, but the percentage of football fans who believe in God and celebrate Tebow’s and McCoy’s faith and the faith of thousands of other athletes has got to be a large, supermajority.

Media types, by contrasts to athletes and ordinary sports fans, are going to be decidedly areligious in their personal practice and often anti-faith in their agenda journalism. I don’t know the reporter, Electa Draper, but I sure would love to know her position on the life issue. This article may just be part of that low tradition of using a fan to say what you want said, no matter how crazy the fan.

It won’t bug Tebow. And similar articles won’t bug McCoy any more than they have Brees or Warner or many other leaders who know what they believe and why. In fact our shared faith teaches that hatred by many in the world is to be expected and even welcomed as an evidence of a faith lived transparently.

What does bug me is that, at least on occasions not involving the Browns, I am going to have to cheer for a Bronco.

And because of that, I think everyone should have to watch this video.



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