I have been trying to figure out how I feel about the recent events in national football. In particular it's the behavior of the Ravens' Ray Rice who "allegedly" knocked his wife out with a fist to her head, and then dragged her unconscious body out of an elevator - seen on hotel security footage.
He's not the first professional football player to do something morally, and legally wrong. And he's not the first to get what one many consider just a "slap on his hand" for the behavior. Grown men who train all day to be tough on the field and who use words about "taking out their opponent" and "smacking the other team." They are urged on by coaches, and trainers, and, yes, the fans!
See, I love watching football. I mean I really love it! I love the rivalry in college football. I love the beauty of a quarterback and receiver working together. I love a play that outsmarts the other team. I love watching a team push down the field, working play after play to make it happen.
I worry about concussions and other physical problems the players face - and that's for another blog post. But, today I wonder how I should feel at the start of football this year. How can I ignore what the players do off the field? How can I support the NFL and the "powers that be" when they seem to look the other way?
I know this may sound strange, but I kind of connect what is happening in football with what has happened in the Roman Catholic church. Both have had very morally wrong behavior and both have had people cover up that behavior. Both have had "heroes" that have disappointed. There's been hypocrisy and there's been covering up.
But, as I think about the priests of the RC church I have never given up on God. I have not turned away from my core belief because of bad humans. So, should I stop loving football because it also has bad people, making wrong decisions? And, as a Christian person who tries to forgive… can I actually do it? So, can I still watch football?
I want to… I want to watch football - and I probably will. But I do NOT want to excuse anyone's behavior and I do not want to glorify the players.
How do you feel?