To whom much is given
This week we have been exploring the positive side of the sport of football, which I believe is the greater game. When a sport is so popular that one event is watched by hundreds of millions around the world, there is a responsibility. The Lord says in Luke 12:48 says, "But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more." There is a lot for all of us in this verse not only for when we are considering life, but also when we are considering the sport of football.
Part of the reason why so many harshly judge the sport of football is the undeniable immoral, illegal and/or unethical acts of some of those associated with the sport. Others judge the sport based on how some people idolize the players and the game. But it isn't the sport of football that brings evil upon society. It is the condition of the human heart and all that entails that brings shame upon most things that are also very good. When we see a handful of players consumed with sex, violence, and other incorrigible acts, it is easy to judge that such a sport cannot be good for anyone. Is it fair and right, however, for football to be held accountable for the shameful actions of some who are associated with the game?
Yes. To whom much is given, much is required. When a player beats a woman or a child, he must be held accountable. When a player commits suicide, a question must be asked if there is any way to prevent it. If there are questions about safety, ways of protecting players from unnecessary risk must be addressed. For the future of a sport that has so much influence in society, leaders in the sport must recognize the power of the negative as well as the benefit of the positive. In each of these cases, the NFL has been a leader in society in developing state of the art solutions to the challenges that improve all of society--sometimes slower than the media or others demand, but eventually getting it right.
Have a Blessed and Powerful Day!
I have had the honor to work with mighty men of God in addressing many of these issues. We have worked to establish a new personal conduct policy where playing football is considered a privilege, not a right, and there are not only harsh penalties for domestic violence, but also preventative education reaching down to the youth level for all players. There are former players working as Ambassadors teaching youth, current and former players about character and professionalism. Counter to what's being reported, many at the NFL understand the sport's influence on society and take that responsibility very seriously. The idea is to use the sport of football to teach and instill character and leadership in those who play the game--for the greater good of society. We work to change men a heart at a time because to whom much is given, much is required.