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Monday, February 4, 2013

Christian Athletes are not Role Models

The story reminds me of another quote, this one from basketball hall of famer Charles Barkley. He was one of the most dominating power forwards of his day (1990s), who used his strength and aggressiveness to intimidate opponents. He had no patience for those who believed athletes should be role models for kids. "A million guys can dunk a basketball in jail," he once said. "Should they be role models?"
As we come to another Super Bowl, we Christians note that the leaders of each team are devout believers—Colin Kaepernick on the 49ers and Ray Lewis on the Ravens (see the related CT story). Like any group with a strong self-identity, we Christians are proud that members of our tribe are star players in this national extravaganza. Not unexpectedly, when Christians become prominent in athletics, we are tempted to turn them into role models. We want them, like the lady wanted of John Kruk, to be models of athleticism, and like Charles Barkley comments, to be models of morality, as well.
But I suspect Charles Barkley had it right. Even Christian athletes, in the end, make for poor moral role models.

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