Monday, November 29, 2010

God drops touchdown; public crucifies receiver

One of the wackier sports stories of the weekend came down late Sunday when Buffalo Bills wide receiver Steve Johnson tweeted his frustrations about dropping what would have been the game-winning touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime. It was a ball that hit him in the hands, and he flat dropped it. That wasn't the controversy. Receivers drop balls all the time. They don't however then lash out at God as a result.

And, unlike most of the sports-loving public out there, I don't have any problem with his frustrations or the way he expressed them.

If you haven't seen it yet, here are the comments he posted on his twitter account:

Okay, now before you get all up in arms, let's take a breather. Calm down. Let's look at this objectively as well as somewhat spiritually.

If you aren't a religious person, then you probably are saying he should have just kept his eye on the ball, reeled it in, made the play, and won the game. He can blame it on whoever he wants, and that's fine, but he lost it for his team.

If you are a religious person and you tolerate the outbursts of other NFL players and superstar athletes thanking God, Jesus, and other supreme beings for their success, then don't you also have to take the good with the bad? When Kurt Warner screamed "Thank you, Jesus" into the microphone after the Rams beat the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV, what you probably didn't see where the Tennessee players who came up one yard short who were thinking the complete opposite because their God didn't bring them the Lombardi Trophy. Heck, Warner even quasi-joked about everyone knowing he was going to thank Jesus when the Cardinals advanced to the Super Bowl two years ago.

Let me just put it out there that. Yes, I believe in God, and no, I don't believe he concerns himself with the NFL or other sports, even if I did believe that Texas Stadium had a hole in the roof so God could watch his favorite team play on Sundays.

Athletes thank God all the time for touchdowns, home runs, buzzer beaters, goals, and every other little play in sports. It's nice to be able to believe in something. People turn to religion for strength among many other reasons. And in the grueling world of competitive athletics, I do think some of these athletes are sincere in their thanking a deity for their success.

So what is the problem with one of these athletes who, I would assume, is just as devout as the rest, taking the other side of this coin? He's upset. He should be. He lost the game for his team, and he knows it. But with that in mind, if he believes that he has "paid his religious dues" to his God, then in turn I can understand his frustrations in how he feels that God let him fail when instead he was all set up to be the hero.

Maybe this is his moment of frustration where he finds clarity in the aftermath and becomes a better player and a more spiritual person. Maybe he renounces religion all together. I don't know which, if either, will happen.

But everyone who is kicking this poor guy's butt because he lashed out in frustration needs to back off. Anyone who is religious has felt frustrations toward God when things don't work out. Some accept it as a challenge, perhaps that God is testing them to become better. Others might see it as God rejecting them perhaps. To each their own. I truly believe that.

If you don't have a problem with players dropping to a knee and pointing to the heavens after each touchdown, then it's tough to also condemn a player who vents his frustrations in the same direction when things don't work out.


Dave said...

The key here is the "THX THO"... like yeah, you screwed me over and cost me and my team the game, and I'm peeved, but we're still cool.

Anonymous said...


"THOUGH He slay me..." not "Thou" - ha!

And... Could it be that this guy's "THX THO" is like what I mentioned Kind David did at the end of his songs, which were placed in the Bible?

I'm glad you wrote about this...

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