News flash: This may be a shock to GetReligion readers, who are quite cool as a rule when it comes to caring about sports, but America is currently moving into the secular holy season known as Super Bowl Week.
News flash No. 2: This is a rather big deal in Baltimore this time around.
It is almost impossible to grasp, unless you have lived in a city with a Super Bowl team, how completely super news takes over a local newspaper (or local television stations) during the week before The Big Game. By the time the game is done, virtually every member of the squad will be the subject of a news story of some kind, especially if there is some poignant twist in the story. It’s kind of like all of those tearjerkers that get dropped into Olympics coverage, only multiplied by about 10.
Take, for example, the news feature that ran the other day in The Baltimore Sun about the life and times of reserve cornerback and special-teams player Chris Johnson — whose family went through hell this past year. This is a valid story, in my opinion, Super Bowl or no Super Bowl. As is often the case in sports coverage these days, the story opens with symbolic tattoos.
Tattoos adorn the torso and arms of Ravens reserve cornerback Chris Johnson, covering his body in a mosaic of smiling faces and names.
It’s Johnson’s way of paying tribute to his family, of ensuring that those loved ones remain close to his heart.
“This way, they’re always a part of you,” Johnson said. “They’re literally on your skin permanently, just like family is permanent to me.”
On the left side of his ribs is a tattoo of a face and two numbers. The face is that of his sister, Jennifer Johnson. The numbers represent the years she lived: 1978 to 2011. A little more than a year ago, Chris Johnson was exchanging general text messages with Jennifer and preparing for his next game with the Oakland Raiders. Then, she was suddenly gone.
Jennifer Johnson, 33, was shot multiple times and killed by her estranged boyfriend, Eugene Esters, on Dec. 5, 2011, in an apartment complex parking lot in Fort Worth, Texas, according to Tarrant County court records.
“I’ll never get to talk to my sister again or tell her that I love her,” Chris Johnson said. “You can’t figure out why things happen the way they did. As a Christian and as a man, you have to keep going forward. I needed to push forward and be strong. I didn’t have time to wonder why. As a man, as a father, as a husband, as a son, I believe you have to have more strength than your average person. Your family is depending on you. If you break down, they don’t have a solid foundation. I try to be that foundation for my family.”
This is not another GetReligion post about a sports story that fails to follow through on a major religion angle. Actually, I think that this Sun story does a fine job of including a valid, strong religion angle. Read the whole thing, please.
However, I am also convinced that this report did miss the Holy Ghost, but let me explain the nature of this specific journalistic problem.