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Dan Levy
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Dan Levy

The host of On the DL with new episodes every weekday.

There is No God In Team


I will forgo the easy joke of thanking God for giving me the ability to type -- for giving me the strength to eschew the carpal tunnel syndrome a few more years. Oh, I guess that's the joke. Sorry about that.

Full disclosure, if you can't tell by the Levy at the end of my name, I am a member of the Tribe. So to me, Jesus was just a regular ol' Jew who had some followers. A lot of followers. But I never understood invoking Jesus' name after you win a big game. "Well, first I want to say I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jesus Christ." You aren't giving an Oscar speech, you are answering questions from a sideline reporter who just wants to know how you managed to catch a ball so well.

I probably wouldn't be so bent out of shape every time a guy who just spent three hours attacking other men (love thy neighbor, right?) praised his 'Lord and Savior' if I thought for one second he believed what he was saying. I'm sure there are some -- supposedly Kurt Warner is a practice-what-you-preacher -- but it seems that most athletes thank God when they actually want to thank themselves.

"I'd first like to thank God for putting me on this field and giving me the unique physical abilities to run faster and jump higher than my opponents. I'm great, we can see that. But it's not because my years of hard work or support and guidance from coaches, family and friends that has gotten me to this level. No no no no no. There is nothing on this planet that can explain greatness like this. No way, no how. This right here is supernatural greatness. Praise be to the man upstairs for making something so magnificent."


Let's think about it from a different perspective. You are at work. You present a proposal that gets rave reviews, your product/idea/invention gets produced and you make national news. Let's even say you end up getting interviewed on a live national television program (think Today, GMA, etc). Now, imagine the host asking you a question about your product/idea/invention and before you explain it's uses and how it will revolutionize your field, you start by thanking God for making you smart enough and creative enough to think of the idea.

Some eyebrows would raise to say the least.

You are on that business trip at the expense of your employer -- on their dime. You are a representative of their company. You are a spokesman for their product/idea/invention, even if you are the one who created it. Just because there is a camera in front of you doesn't mean you have the right to spread your own message about anything, least of all something so polarizing as the glory of God.

So why do we let it happen in sports? Why shouldn't Dan Snyder have a 'no God rule' for his players? It's not a freedom of speech situation. The players work for him. When they get interviewed they are speaking as members of the Washington Redskins. They shouldn't get to have an agenda.

If athletes want to use their celebrity and the opportunity they have to reach wide audiences in order to to spread the word of God, they can do it on their own time. If I wanted to hear people talk about Jesus on Sunday... well, you know the rest of that joke, too.


One more point to close this out before Ray Lewis comes knocking on my door. The all-encompassing term 'God' has softened things. It's okay to thank God, because he didn't say which God. And while we're at it, somewhere along the way Jesus has become accepted as well. Everyone loves Jesus, right? How can you get mad at a guy for praising Jesus?

But just wait until a star athlete makes the game-winning play, comes over to the sideline reporter and starts the interview with "praise be to Allah." I wonder if people in middle America will think differently about this whole God and sports thing then.

By Dan Levy  |  February 4, 2009; 9:46 AM ET  | Category:  Arizona Cardinals , Dan Levy , NFL , Pittsburgh Steelers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Faith Enhancement? | Next: Strength in Faith


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It would be really cool to see a football player kneel in prayer after dropping a pass or missing a fieldgoal. We don't see the losing coach tell the press, "Thank God we lost!" True faith (and this is true in the Jewish faith too!) praises God thru good times and bad. Maybe in the locker room after a cruching defeat, some team members do get together, drop to their knees, and pray. I think God wants us to pray in private, not in the end zone on international TV, and at all occasions in life, not just the victories.

Posted by: schaeffz | February 4, 2009 12:55 PM

I sawe an old replay of a championship game from the 1950s. what struck me was absolutely no celebrations, no showboating, and no crass look at me while I pray crap in the end zone.

If they were real christians they would pray in the homes as directed, not in a public place. Let me know when one of them prays to Zoroaster, or Allah, or Ganish and then I will admit that Football has enterted the 21st century. Until then this is just fake religion by self-important fakirs. I mean, like God really gives a flip who wins a stupid game? Sports are the American version of roman circuses and gladiators - a distraction to watch as Rome burns...

Posted by: respondus | February 4, 2009 3:31 PM


Posted by: mbintj | February 4, 2009 6:22 PM

"If athletes want to use their celebrity and the opportunity they have to reach wide audiences in order to to spread the word of God, they can do it on their own time."

By that logic, you want to use your ability to reach wide audiences to spread the word of your contempt for faith, you should do it on your own time.


Posted by: bobmoses | February 5, 2009 8:25 AM

No matter how one feels about religion, the fact of the matter is that supernatural events, planet orientation, or lights in the sky do not make the players perform well. Training, coaches, and familial support from an early age all transpire to allow these modern day gladiators to wage combat while the masses swoon in delight. God does not choose favorites nor were they predestined, certain traits and abilities allow them to rise to the top and outperform the rest. Sounds familiar.

Posted by: sherlockjt | February 5, 2009 12:45 PM

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