BOZELL: Kaepernick and Christian Athletes
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick recently filed a grievance against the National Football League, accusing all teams of colluding to deny him a place on a team because he kneeled during the national anthem. As was true with Michael Sam, the openly gay player and activist who claimed after he was drafted and released that owners didn’t want him, Kaepernick isn’t playing because he’s not worth signing. Period.
So what is it that keeps Kaepernick in the media spotlight? They like him. Multimillionaire celebrities who wear Che Guevara T-shirts and socks that depict the police as racist pigs are celebrated by reporters. They feel your pain about racist America.
But what if you’re an athlete with passionate beliefs about Jesus Christ? That, folks, is a bridge too far. Jesus Christ is a name that should probably be avoided in mixed company.
They made it almost toxic with Tim Tebow. Liberal radio host Bill Press told him to “STFU,” or “shut the f—- up,” about his “Lord and savior.” He called Tebow a “disgrace.” Undeniably, he was voicing the opinion of many journalists — but not all.
Usually, reporters are just uncomfortable with the subject. Take a new ESPN profile of The Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins and his remarkable decision to pass up a long-term contract for a year-by-year “franchise tag.” In Kevin Van Valkenburg’s article, faith didn’t bubble up until paragraph 17. Cousins said he told Redskins President Bruce Allen, “I prayed about it and said, ‘Lord, what do you want to do?'”
Faith is central to Cousins. In a speech at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, Cousins explained: “I just didn’t feel a peace about signing a long-term contract. I think the Lord communicates with us in many ways, and one of those ways is through his peace. And I just didn’t feel at peace. And in addition, I do believe that the Lord, at least in my life, he likes to use one-year contracts, not long-term contracts, if you will.”
Cousins’ ascent to a starting job in pro football is a dramatic story. ESPN also noted that when he couldn’t get a spot on a college football team, his pastor father asked him, “Are you going to try and control your future, or are you ready to surrender your future to the Lord and let him do as he pleases?”
ESPN can’t really handle the spin on this ball. The website GetReligion, which often notices clumsy reporting on religion, pointed out that this long article never included the words “church” or “Christian.”
Superstar Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who won the first World Series game for the team, has also spurred this awkwardness. An August story ran in the Los Angeles Times about his marriage to his wife, Ellen Kershaw. The writer wrote that their wedding was soon followed by a trip to Zambia to work with orphans. Why? “It was always on her heart,” he said. “It wasn’t on my radar and I knew when I married her that it was going to involve me, so we went over there the first time three weeks after we got married. And it does. It changes you.”
“It was on her heart” is Christian lingo. The Kershaws then co-authored a book with Ann Higginbottom titled “Arise: Live Out Your Faith and Dreams on Whatever Field You Find Yourself.” They wrote, “The battle to maintain a Christ-centered identity is the most worthy fight we will face.” But you wouldn’t know that from the newspaper account, which just avoided the entire religion angle.
In the last year, journalists have lamented a lack of role models for youth, and rightly so. Why not then spotlight the athletes whose Christianity is their inspiration? There are many stories out there waiting to be told.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog NewsBusters.org. To find out more about Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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Last Updated: Thursday, Oct 26, 2017 13:11:52 -0700
Founder and president of the Media Research Center, Mr. Bozell runs the largest media watchdog organization in America. Established in 1987, the MRC has made “media bias” a household term, tracking it daily and printing the compiled evidence biweekly in its well-known Notable Quotables, as well as the daily CyberAlert intelligence report on the Internet. His most recent book, Whitewash: What the Media Won’t Tell You About Hillary Clinton, but Conservatives Will, was released in November 2007. His previous book, Weapons of Mass Distortion: The Coming Meltdown of the Liberal Media, was released in July 2004.
In 1998, Mr. Bozell launched CNSNews.com, an online news service with an emphasis on investigative journalism. CNSNews.com has become a major Internet news source with a full staff of journalists in its Washington, D.C. metro bureau, with other correspondents around the world. In October 2006, Mr. Bozell founded the Culture and Media Institute (CMI), whose mission is to thwart the efforts of the liberal media to subvert America’s culture, character, traditional moral values and religious liberty. CMI complements the MRC’s Business and Media Institute (BMI), founded in 1992 to bring balance to economic reporting and to promote fair portrayal of the business community in the media.
Mr. Bozell has also launched a number of other websites under the MRC umbrella including www.mediaresearch.org, www.timeswatch.org, www.mrcaction.org and www.Newsbusters.org, a “blog” site that became one of the top 15 blog sites in America within two months of its launch in 2005.
Founder and former president of the Parents Television Council, Mr. Bozell established the largest Hollywood-based organization dedicated to restoring responsibility to the entertainment industry. The PTC at http://www.parentstv.org features the “Family Guide to Prime Time Television,” which aids parents in making informed viewing decisions for their children. PTC conducted the largest national newspaper ad campaign in history with late Honorary Chairman Steve Allen, and has mobilized almost one million parents and other concerned members behind its efforts.
Mr. Bozell is a nationally syndicated columnist whose work appears in publications such as Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The New York Post, The Los Angeles Times, Investors Business Daily and National Review. He is regularly invited to provide media expertise on news programs by all the major networks and cable affiliates. He is frequently invited to appear on Fox News Channel shows such as Fox & Friends, Hannity & Colmes and The O’Reilly Factor, and other appearances include NBC's Today show, CNN's Inside Politics and Larry King Live, ABC's Good Morning America, C-SPAN, CBN and Entertainment Tonight. He has appeared as a guest and guest host on hundreds of radio shows, from local talk shows to ABC Radio, NPR’s Morning Edition, the Michael Reagan Show and the Rush Limbaugh Show.
Named the 1998 Pew Memorial Lecturer by Grove City College, Mr. Bozell is a frequent speaking guest on school campuses and for civic and political organizations around the country.
Mr. Bozell received his B.A. in History from the University of Dallas, where he was named the 1998 Alumnus of the Year. He is married, with five children and two grandchildren.
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Originally posted at http://get.creators.com/content/release/215036.