Religion In Sports: Does it Belong?

December 13, 2011

Political Theory


Throughout the past couple of years there has been a lot of talk about the presence of god, and religion in sports. Recently this issue has come to the forefront, with the incredible play of a devout Christian, Tim Tebow (Quarterback for the Denver Broncos). Over the past 6 weeks Tebow has lead his team to a remarkable turnaround, and placed them in the driver seat to win their division and make the playoffs. On the surface, this just seems like another feel good story. A collegiate standout gets overlooked by a lot of analysts and teams, but with copious amounts of hard work and dedication he overcomes the odds and instantly becomes and NFL star. The problem is that this specific case is different, and there has been endless amounts of conversation regarding how this is happening.   In case you have not been following Tebow over the past 6 weeks let me give you a quick recap of what has transpired. Tebow has brought his team from behind week after week in the 4th quarter and led them to victory. Over the first 3 quarters of each of the games Tebow has struggled mightily, but in the 4th quarter when the game is on the line Tebow has made a complete 180. He has been nothing short of spectacular and this spectacular play, and truly unbelievable comebacks have raised many questions about the place in religion in sports. As I mentioned earlier Tebow is a devout Christian, and has credited his faith and the lord for a lot of his   success. Since he was a college standout Tebow has always openly prayed during games, and thanked the lord numerous times in his post game speeches. Because of Tebow’s incredible success in the NFL this issue of weather or not religion has a place in professional sports has come to the forefront. On Saturday December 10th,Frank Bruni published an article in the New York Times titled “Time Tebow’s Gospel of Optimism”. The article starts off by saying “CAN God take credit for the victories of a thick-set N.F.L. quarterback who  scrambles in a weirdly jittery fashion, throws one of the ugliest balls in the game, completes fewer than half of his passes and has somehow won six of his team’s last seven games?”(New York Times). The rest of the article bounces back and forth between Tebow’s football abilities and his faith, and Bruni touches on the exact issue that I raise today. To read the complete article click on this link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/opinion/sunday/bruni-tim-tebows-gospel-of-optimism.html?_r=3&scp=1&sq=Tebow&st=cse                                     

Throughout history religion has always been in the forefront of controversy when dealing with politics. Recently the question of religion has made its way to a multi billion-dollar entertainment industry, professional sports. So next time Tim Tebow, or our own Denard Robinson scores a touchdown and immediately drops to one knee to pray what will be going through your mind?

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6 Comments on “Religion In Sports: Does it Belong?”

  1. mzselig Says:

    I have always thought Tim Tebow’s expression of his religion was a bit over the top starting with his days as a player at Florida when he would write different bible verses on his eye-black. While I do not believe there should be any regulations or limits on how much religious expression should be allowed in sports, I do believe that there is much too much religion in sports. Freedom of religion, coupled with freedom of expression, prohibits any kind of limits to be placed on this kind of expression, there are some acts I believe do not belong in sports. As stated in this post, Tebow thanking God for allowing him to win a game is not necessary, nor is praying after a good play during a game. These kinds of acts in sports detract from the actual talent the sports actually require.

  2. zekeharris Says:

    I actually think its not a bad thing that these players are finally bringing there religion to the light instead of there fancy cars, plastic wives, and gunshot wounds. Why is America so uncomfortable with such out there expressions of faith? It shouldn’t make people hate him for winning. He and Denard among others can freely express themselves as they choose. Each are average quarterbacks lets be honest. But if they find a way to win even with a little helping hand why should we stop them? As I see it the professional sports has enough influence over people and what they do. Maybe influencing people to go to church a little more often can help…it certainly wont hurt. If God is on his side and he wins that could be good for the youth. As they say “don’t hate congratulate”

  3. asgersh Says:

    The media’s focus on Tim Tebow’s faith in my opinion is not needed. I believe the sports commentary and analyses should stay focused on the actual game. There has been many players in the NFL including ex lions QB John Kitna who have had very visible religious dedication, but the media has never focused this much on a players religious practices as much as it does on Tebow. I have no problem with players dropping to one knee or praying during a game, but i do think it is wrong to focus the camera and commentary on the religious actions. In such a violent sport like football, where a serious career ending injury can happen on any given play, I can see how a player can turn to prayer. The focus of sports should be on the game and the growth of the sport, not on a certain player’s religion or personal moments throughout the game.

  4. ceabee Says:

    I don’t have any kind of problem with Tim Tebow’s outward displays of religion. I think that his faith has causes such an “uproar” in the media because the media itself has focused so much on it. I think it is great that Tebow is recognized for his faith instead of for a scandal. I would consider Tebow a great role model for the youth that watch football not because he is a Christian, but because he is promoting such a positive image.

  5. jsimon99 Says:

    I think that it is great that players are bringing religion into their game. I think it is sad that some people always “watch out” when they talk about their religion around people. It shouldn’t matter to others what people believe. Even if you do not like what Tebow’s actions, or how Denard gets on a knee after a touchdown, you should still respect it. Freedom of religion and expression means that there should be no kind of limit on what someone can or cannot do. I believe that Tebow should continue his actions and continue to use faith in his game. However religion will always continue to be a controversy and discussion for all no matter where it is used.

  6. ethankurtzman Says:

    Look, religion mixed with anything in the mass media will always result in controversy.
    In fact, almost everyone who ever enters the limelight succumbs to criticism. Whether it’s Tom Cruise’s belief in scientology or Tim Tebow’s glaring faith on the field, people will always look to villainize our stars. So what do I think about religion in sports? I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. It would be one thing if Tebow forced his beliefs on every Bronco’s fan, but he is not. Tebow is simply practicing his first amendment rights. It would be interesting, however, to revisit this thought if Tebow started wearing a cross on his helmet or jersey. In this way, Tebow would be forcing his religion onto a non-secular corporation. But for now, let the boy play ball and let him show gratitude for his success.

    (Sorry if this posted twice).

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