A Vice Sports piece by writer Patrick Sauer entitled, “What Would Jesus Think About Football?,” just posed the question to a number of Catholic and evangelical ministry workers. Here’s how Sauer set up the piece:
One in three retired NFL players will suffer long-term cognitive damage. The question of football’s morality—or immorality—becomes even more fraught when posed to people who live a life in which the sport and Christianity are intertwined. With that in mind, I asked several football chaplains and other Christians affiliated with the sport a complicated question: What would Jesus think about football?
I was interviewed for Sauer’s article and had a great time talking with him; I must say, I never thought I would be interviewed for a Vice story–CBMW and Southern Seminary aren’t exactly common fodder for Vice. Sauer has put together an impressive long-form piece of reportage on a highly controversial issue. Before he reached out, I was not seeking to talk with a reporter about football and its violent nature; much like the Christianity Today piece I wrote a year ago, I was asked to speak on the matter. Generally speaking, this isn’t an issue that I’ve sought out in recent years, though it is one that keeps seeking me out.
As I said to Sauer, and as I’ve said elsewhere, I am not anti-football. I personally enjoy football. I love that Christians are using the sport to teach character and share the gospel. I think that’s terrific. I am not anti-football, then, but I am pro-imago dei. I want to do what very little I can to help promote sound ethical thinking about all of life, including America’s game.