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Jewish Journal

Faithless football

by Brad A. Greenberg

February 7, 2010 | 10:18 am

Today is the day the NFL says has been building to. Seems as apt a time as any to mention this column from Friday’s Wall Street Journal. It’s one I wish I had written. I didn’t, but I’ll still take some credit because Sarah Pulliam Bailey, my colleague at GetReligion, referenced in the column a quote that I included in a previous blog post about Kurt Warner’s faith.

Here’s an excerpt from Sarah’s column, “Where God Talk Gets Sidelined”:

Peter King, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, admits his own skepticism when players bring up their faith after a game. “I’ve seen enough examples of players who claim to be very religious and then they get divorced three times or get in trouble with the law,” Mr. King said earlier this week. “I’m not sure that the public is crying out for us to discover the religious beliefs of the athletes we’re writing about.”

Faith is the belief in things unseen. Sportswriters are trained to write about the observable. “One of the problems that we have is determining the veracity of a person’s claim that he has just won this game for his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Mr. King said.

In the Baltimore Sun before last year’s Super Bowl, Washington Post reporter Rick Maese characterized his fellow journalists as “notebook-toting cynics who worship at the altar of the free media buffet.” But he softened his language and cut his colleagues some slack when I spoke to him recently. A sports reporter might write one story with a strong religion angle and feel like the idea is no longer fresh for the next athlete he covers, Mr. Maese told me. “It’s not like the reporter’s going to bring an athlete’s beliefs or religious affiliation up out of the blue,” he said. But “if that’s something the player cites as a motivating factor, I don’t think you’re telling the full story if you don’t explore that angle a little bit.”

Read the rest here. And, I guess since this is The God Blog, go Saints.

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