I’ve mentioned before about how Tim Tebow would never have been allowed to go onto the football field if his eye black read “There Is” “No God” instead of “John” “3:16.”
The same standard that allows him to promote his faith on the field seems to apply to New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, too.
After winning the Super Bowl, he said “God is great!” They aired it on TV. All was well and good with the world…
But think about the reaction if he had said, “Allah is great!”
Jonathan Zimmerman asks this in the Christian Science Monitor:
While some of us might not see anything wrong with that, would network television announcers have applauded Brees as a “man of faith,” as he is frequently called?
Would newspapers have published glowing profiles of the other devout members of the Saints, who played up their religious belief during the buildup to the Super Bowl -– and thanked God after it?
You already know the answer. The problem here isn’t the players’ “faith”. It’s the not-so-subtle assumption that every person of faith adheres to the Christian faith -– and to a highly traditional version of it, at that.
Very few athletes come to mind who would openly thank a non-Christian god or no god at all.
More importantly, I wonder how the networks would televise it if anyone did. No doubt there would be a couple awkward, stammering commentators struggling to say something intelligent afterwards…
It’s even harder to proclaim your minority faith when your teammates are almost all Evangelical Christians. Sometimes, not participating in team prayers can cut you from the team:
Consider the fate of three Muslim football players at New Mexico State University, where a new coach instituted the Lord’s Prayer after practices in 2005. When the Muslims chose to pray on their own, the coach repeatedly asked one of them what he thought of Al Qaeda. He eventually dismissed all three Muslims from the team, calling them “troublemakers.”
But the real trouble was the prayer, of course, not the players. They sued the university, which settled with them out of court.
This isn’t a hard problem to fix. It’s smart policy and good for team morale to let religion be a personal thing. Officials should not let players wear their faith on their sleeves (or under their eyes) and coaches should never assume the whole team feels the way that they do.
As for Drew Brees’ comment, I don’t really mind it. That’s a personal expression of his faith.
But it would’ve been nicer to see him thank his coaches and teammates first. They’re the ones who actually helped him win.
(Thanks to Lauren for the link!)