By Matthew Swanson
Religion in Sports
Today I plan to go over the involvement of religion in sports. In high school, having just completed that a couple years ago, there are public schools and private schools. Many public schools we were not allowed to combine our religion with our sports, but many times when I would go to a private school we would do a prayer before games started. That’s just a little bit of how religion is involved in sports. So today I will talk about why religion should be more accepted in sports.
Earlier this year Husain Abdullah was penalized during a professional football game. Why was he penalized? It was because his celebration of prayer broke NFL (National Football League) rules of celebration by going down to the ground to celebrate.
I’m not sure why religion is always scrutinized in sports, especially the NFL. Another example is Tim Tebow. Many are familiar with the term “Tebowing” and what it looks like. (Pictured above to the right)
For many people though they only did it to make fun of it and not to actually give praise and thanks like it was meant for. I don’t understand why so many people criticized Tebow for practicing his faith. According to the article “When sports and Religion Colide” written by Jabber Head most people don’t agree with it because they feel it gives that person an edge over other competitors. Such as a religious institute like BYU (Brigham Young University) where most of their athletes are older than most other athletes in the NCAA (National College Athletic Association). Athletes at BYU are required to go on a two year mission trip before they can graduate from the college. Some argue this gives those athletes a competitive edge if they come back and finish up their football career at the university. I don’t believe that it necessarily gives those athletes an edge because several, especially the highly recognizable athletes, choose to leave college much earlier than the athletes who choose to graduate from college. Those athletes leaving early gives them more professional experience in their area than those who choose to stay four or more years at a college. So as far as going to a religious institution that has requires you to do certain things that require you to stay longer at college, I do not believe it gives a competitive edge over someone who chooses to leave college early and start a professional career.
So in conclusion, are people punished or criticized more for showing their faith and religion on the field? Not necessarily, but as far as the Kansas Cities Chiefs defensive back Husain Abdullah he was penalized for showing his religion, probably most likely for the referees just being uninformed about his prayers. Are they favored more for being faith based too? That is more of a belief for any individual to answer that questions. Some will say yes, they are more favored by God or a higher power, others would say no they are just more mature than other athletes. Either way I feel that that athletes should not be criticized in professional sports like they have been. They should be able to live the way they want to live their life.
Spargo, Chris, and Daniel Bates. Daily Mail. N.p., 30 Sept. 2014. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2774925/Muslim-player-penalized-NFL-dropping-knees-prayer-scoring-touchdown-fined-league.html>.
Head, Jabber. Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report, 20 Feb. 2009. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <http://bleacherreport.com/articles/127040-when-sports-and-religion-collide>.