Public Opinion with Athletes Talking about God

**Disclaimer: This post is about sports—college football in particular. I’m sorry if you don’t follow sports or know any of the names I’m going to mention, but you’ll get the idea of the main point that I’m communicating.

So …

Yesterday I was watching ESPN (shocker….), and on the show Rome Is Burning hosted by Jim Rome, sports columnist Rick Telander (pictured above) from the Chicago Sun Times was a guest. Telander went on to say that the main reason the Heisman trophy winner and current University of Florida junior quarterback Tim Tebow (pictured below) decided to return to college for his senior season instead of entering the NFL draft was to “continue to wrongly proselytize everyone about his faith” (Tebow’s parents are Christian missionaries in the Philippines, where he was born).

And then Telander started to say the same things about the most well respected head coach in the NFL, Tony Dungy (pictured below) claiming that because of the separation of Church and State athletes and coaches shouldn’t talk about their faith. I hate to bring this to Telander’s attention, but Church, State and professional sports have nothing to do with each other.

Here’s my only point to Mr. Telander:

Just because he doesn’t like to hear about the faith and God of Tebow and Dungy, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t talk about it when they feel God is the reason they’re able to do what they do—on the stage they have. I think Mr. Telander is forgetting that we live in a free, democratic society—the same free democratic society that allows him to write his opinionated column each and everyday in the Chicago Sun Times as well as being able to give his opinions on national TV.

This is the second time I’ve heard Telander publically make a derogatory comment about Tebow talking about God. And before he does it again, maybe Telander should thank Tebow and Dungy’s God for setting up a system of free-will, allowing Telander to get paid to freely communicate his derogatory opinion about God in culture on national TV without penalty against him for his words. If Telander gets to publically state his opinions about his thoughts on God in sports, then so can Tebow and Dungy.

Much love.

About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation ( He is the award winning author of two books and a DVD curriculum, and his new book Us Versus Us: The Untold Story of Religion & the LGBT Community, will release June 2016. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and Christian involvement in reconciliation. He is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland where he is researching and teaching at the University of St. Andrews, earning his PhD in Divinity. His research focuses on the theology and praxis of social reconciliation between victims and their perpetrators. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).