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.

On the Importance of Fidelity.
Who is my neighbor?
Come Do Class with The Marin Foundation
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Urgency of Opposing Inequality
About Andrew Marin

Andrew Marin is President and Founder of The Marin Foundation ( He is author of the award winning book Love Is an Orientation (2009), its interactive DVD curriculum (2011), and recently an academic ebook titled Our Last Option: How a New Approach to Civility can Save the Public Square (2013). Andrew is a regular contributor to a variety of media outlets and frequently lectures at universities around the world. Since 2010 Andrew has been asked by the United Nations to advise their various agencies on issues of bridging opposing worldviews, civic engagement, and theological aspects of reconciliation. For twelve years he lived in the LGBT Boystown neighborhood of Chicago, and is currently based St. Andrews, Scotland, where he is teaching and researching at the University of St. Andrews earning his PhD in Constructive Theology with a focus on the Theology of Culture. Andrew's research centers on the cultural, political, and religious dynamics of reconciliation. Andrew is married to Brenda, and you can find him elsewhere on Twitter (@Andrew_Marin), Facebook (AndrewMarin01), and Instagram (@andrewmarin1).