I was dismayed when Marion Jones became the latest athlete to be involved in some sort of misdeed. We have had doping, dog fighting, and other crimes and misdemeanors. It is a shame, because these athletes are often role models for our kids. What messages are these folks sending to our young people?
What’s lost in all this shame is the fact that there are many good athletes who are providing positive role models. We don’t hear much about them, because what they do rarely makes the news. Another fact is that a number of professional athletes are devout Christians. We see this especially in football, but the media does everything it can to hide that fact. You rarely see the camera focus on the prayer circle after each game in which Christians from both teams gather for prayer. I know the media grit their teeth when winning coaches, such as Tony Dungy, and winning players give the glory to God in their post-game interviews. In the last Super Bowl, I loved it when Tony Dungy stated he was proud that both coaches in the game were African-Americans, but prouder still that both coaches were committed Christians.
Moreover, some athletes are not only Christians but heroes. Pitcher Dave Dravecky’s brave battle against cancer is an example. He battled cancer and kept his faith despite enormous difficulties. Because it was good news and because he is a devout Christian, you never heard too much about him in the mainstream media. Too bad, because we need these positive role models in our continuously deteriorating society.
If you are a parent, use these negative news items (such as Marion Jones and Michael Vick) as teaching moments. You have to constantly reinforce your values, and the fall of great athletes, sad as it is, can be a time to do that. Any positive news items can also be used to show what good can be done as well. May God bless you as you try to raise your children in a society in which our traditional American values are being constantly eroded, and the good and decent are either not reported or are mocked by the cultural elites.