My Take: Jim Tressel should make us rethink sports evangelization
Ohio State football coach Jim Tressel resigned this week.
June 3rd, 2011
03:22 PM ET

My Take: Jim Tressel should make us rethink sports evangelization

Editor's Note: Tom Krattenmaker is a writer specializing in religion in public life and a member of USA Today's board of contributors. He is the author of Onward Christian Athletes.

By Tom Krattenmaker, Special to CNN

Now that Jim Tressel is out as the coach of the mighty Ohio State University football team, resigning under the weight of rampant NCAA violations by his players and program, it’s tempting to bring the customary snark and cynicism.

Here, after all, is a coach who came on strong with the Christian faith-and-character message, a man honored by the prominent Christian ministry group Athletes in Action just one year ago with induction into AIA’s “Hall of Faith”—an honor meant to recognize recipients’ faith, leadership, character, and integrity.

Tressel kept a prayer-request box on his desk, preached the importance of a moral and spiritual foundation to his players and staff, and presented an image of himself that prompted admirers to call him “senatorial” or, to quote the title of the 2009 book about him, “More Than a Coach.”

Now a close-up photo of Tressel’s face is plastered on the cover of the magazine whose investigation led to his downfall. “Like a disgraced politician who preaches probity but is caught in lies,” Sports Illustrated’s George Dohrmann writes in his article, “the Senator was not the person he purported to be.”

Yes, the hypocrisy card is an easy play now for those who are skeptical about lavishly paid athletic champions being held up as poster men for faith and values, and about the Christian religiosity that has become such a conspicuous part of big-time spectator sports.

But while the media and internet churn out the predictable responses, it’s important to consider the larger problems that Tressel’s fall illuminates. That includes the use of celebrity sports figures and the sports platform to model and promote the Christian faith.

“The platform” — that’s the phrase you’ll hear over and over from Christian players and ministry representatives when they talk about the use of mass-audience spectator sports to evangelize the sports-obsessed public. Its starkest articulation might have come from former Houston Astros third baseman Morgan Ensberg, who said in 2005 that “The entire reason I play baseball is so that I get a chance to speak about Christ.”

Ballplayers don’t necessarily reach this conclusion on their own. There’s often a faith coach of sorts behind ballplayers’ testimonials — a team chaplain or ministry representative encouraging athletes to become Christians and leverage their visibility to invite everyone to join them on the road to Jesus.

A communications staffer for one ministry described the concept for me this way: If a regular Joe walked into a restaurant, cleared his throat, and launched into a faith testimonial, few would listen, and most would be annoyed. But if a highly recognizable baseball star did the same, “People will listen, just because he’s able to hit a fastball 400 feet. That’s the concept of influence.”

Implicit in this—and often stated outright—is the highly questionable proposition that Christianity and sports are well matched, that they go together like “peanut butter and jelly,” as ex-NFL star Deion Sanders once put it. But is the stage of big-time spectator sports really a good venue for the expression and promotion of Christianity?

Tressel is just the latest case study in why I believe the answer is often “no.”

Not that all celebrated Christian coaches and players end up in disgrace. Many are able to “walk the talk” and steer clear of significant trouble for an entire career. (Think Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy, or former Cardinals and Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, or St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols.)

But the disgraced Buckeye coach Tressel is just the latest in a long line of widely praised athletic heroes of faith whose well-publicized lapses embarrassed themselves, their teams or universities, and the ministry organizations that hitched their wagons to them.

There's Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, known to write "Playing for Jesus" on his equipment, who last year incurred a suspension and massive bad publicity after a pair of sexual assault accusations.

There are the cases of professed Christian baseball stars Barry Bonds and Andy Pettitte caught using banned performance enhancing drugs (and, in Bonds' case, a whole lot more.)

And who could forget Eugene Robinson, defensive back for the Falcons, getting arrested for soliciting an undercover police officer for oral sex in 1999, just hours after receiving an award from Athletes in Action and a day before he was supposed to play in the Super Bowl?

Thankfully, signs of change are emerging at faith-in-sports organizations like Athletes in Action, an Ohio-based international sports ministry that, among other efforts, provides chaplains for many pro football teams and university athletics programs.

The new currents are tugging sports ministry toward a model where it’s not about exploiting sports as part of a marketing strategy, but about serving them as a prophetic force for their moral betterment.

The ability to draw a huge audience does not make a given cultural venue an appropriate platform for promoting Christian faith — not if that venue promotes win-at-all-costs behavior and values that are in such deep tension with the central message of the religious “product” being sold.

Corroded and decayed by revelations of cheating and lying, college and professional sports are platforms that faith promoters should not be looking to exploit, but one they should be trying to repair, redeem. Otherwise, the next Jim Tressel-style embarrassment, and the next, and the next, are always just a headline away.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Tom Krattenmaker.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Sports • Uncategorized

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soundoff (197 Responses)
  1. Demo

    Every time I hear "thank you Jesus" at the end of a game or match it causes me to turn the channel. God was on our side means he was not on the other side? It's absurd. You never hear a mention of god after a tough loss or injury.

    June 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • Margot707

      I remember some football player getting flack from the media because he insinuated that it was God's fault he fumbled the ball.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  2. R Harris

    Wow, another cheap shot by CNN against Christianity. Didn't see this one comin' from the sports angle. Nice work, CNN. Can't wait until you take on the Jews or, better yet, the Muslims! Oh, wait, that's right...you too afraid to touch THEM.

    June 4, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • Margot707

      Why can't Christians keep their religious views to themselves? Why must they shove their views down everyone's throats? Maybe then the media wouldn't be so interested in writing about the public hypocrisy of holier-than-thou Christians.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • crucified

      @Margoret707 you are on a religious Blog..if you do not like religious talk.. maybe you should go to a agnostic blog. just saying.

      June 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
    • Andrew

      So we can't criticize the views and actions of the religious on a religious blog? What?

      June 4, 2011 at 6:31 pm |
    • crucified

      @andrew, why would you waste your time, unless you either just wanted to be mean! or you were worried about the result if there were God..if it is that you just want to be mean, which is what I think, then the true colors of atheism come out. Mean, selfish people with agenda

      June 4, 2011 at 6:39 pm |
    • crucified

      @ andrew, by the way....E\psi(r)=-\frac{\hbar}{2m}\nabla^2\psi+V(r)\psi(r), there is your proof for God, quantum physics.

      June 4, 2011 at 6:43 pm |
  3. Nate

    @ Jason in response to Nate (me)

    If that is true, and adhering to those beliefs leads to wrong action, then either the beliefs are flawed, or the action is flawed. In this situation, I tend to view the actions as flawed, as opposed to the beliefs. This is a case where the flawed actions may have been rationalized and justified by strict adherence, or perhaps what he promoted as strict adherence to the beliefs. Further, the degree at which he promoted himself as believing and acting in accordance with those beliefs, can be used a measure to reflect the degree of opposite action in the sense that the beliefs call for morally right behavior.

    The danger here lies, not in the beliefs themselves, as some here have commented, but how those beliefs are used to justify wrong behavior. This is an ongoing debate, however, I think we can gain some clarity from this instance, and others like this, at the appropriate time to questions those who are in positions of great social influence, i.e. churches, politics, sports, and business. It is my thought (or shall I say belief) that the questions of sincerity should rise when an individual displays behaviors of strict adherence in appealing to a set of beliefs, and the degree which he or she promotes those beliefs.

    On a side note, it is common of these situations that we evaluate the actions in respect to a belief, only after the individual has engaged in wrong action. We then reflect and say, well this person obviously did not believe what he or she was saying that they believe or they wouldn't have acted that way. We can't know if he did or did not believe the rhetoric he was promoting. However, we can see that his actions did not light up with his stated beliefs, so whether someone believes their rhetoric or not, we can still evaluate the degree of their belief in the absence of knowledge of action, and question if they should be given an elevated status and subsequently, for lack of a better term, "followed."

    June 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • Andrew

      Could both the actions and beliefs be wrong? You know, like believing that there is someone trying to kill you and the only way to save yourself is to kill your neighbour. Both the actions and belief are probably wrong. Or that some god is telling you to kill an abortion doctor, or to destroy a couple buildings. Beliefs can be wrong, and what good or bad a religion can do actually should take a second seat to evaluating the validity of the beliefs themselves.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
  4. MatKat19

    The media is the first to glorify these people and the first ones to crucify them when they fall. I personally do not see what was the horrible thing that this coach committed, and do not understand why the students, who as adults, broke some rules and the "agents" who offer free gits to seduce these young players did not loose their jobs. Furthermore, just because someone is of faith/religious, it does not mean that we are perfect and clear from making mistakes. If this coach was blasting another coach for breaking rules that he himself was breaking, that is another story, but this is a person trying to give young people common sense advise...just like parents, we can preach and teach but ultimately our kids will make their own mistakes. Should we stop preaching/teaching because our kids misbehaved? That would be absurd. Compassion, forgiveness are values that everyone should learn.

    June 4, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
    • Greg Gibbs

      It stands to be repeated: Compassion, forgiveness are values that everyone should learn.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:34 pm |
    • Trinity

      perhaps you should read the whole Sports Illustrated article. the man lied, repeatedly, not just about this particular situation, but throughout his whole career. not very honourable. this is not just speculation, it's backed up by facts, true investigative journalism. this was not just one mistake. basically, he's been doing one thing while saying something else. truly disgraceful behaviour.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
  5. Mr Mark

    Amazing. All these athletes and coaches worshiping a MAKE BELIEVE god (Jesus) who gives them a make-believe 'get out of jail free card" that will even exonerate you for murder. So, big deal if you don't follow NCAA rules! Jesus will forgive you for that as well!

    The self-absorbed, ego-filthy thing that is the Christian religion is nothing but a placebo that allows people to do whatever they want to do and to say it was OK because they prayed about it (prayer = talking to yourself and providing yourself with the answer you wanted to hear in the first place) and (miracle of miracles!) Jesus has forgiven you.

    So sad to see adults clinging to such childish BS.

    June 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
  6. Greg Gibbs

    I'm a devout rationalist and usually revel in Christian hypocrisy when exhibited. However, this is just more cheap piling on OSU's coach. Tressel has been nothing but an intensely compassionate and loving human being throughout his career. He has changed more lives for the better than you or I could hope for in 10 lifetimes. Don't believe me? Interview someone who knows him. If all Christians were like him, we'd all be better off. Journalism/Marketing has reached a disgusting low and we all should be ashamed for letting it slide this far.

    The next time you sit down to type, try to tell the story, not sell the story.

    June 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  7. john

    Religion is a syndicate that fluffs the outside up to look respectable, but evangelicals are nothing less than barkers who will say anything to convince a sucker to join PT's circus of bible thumpers who preach with one face, and fool you with their second face. Control is the name of the game, play your own hand because if you don't that evangelical will pick pocket your future, and then your the sucker.

    June 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • crucified

      and what is my motive for preaching..I get paid $5000 a year out of a grant. you are lumping all evangelicals into an unfair catagory. I preach what I believe.

      June 4, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
  8. Lineman

    Sports and evangelicanism do indeed go together very well. Both are big business in this country. The evangelical cleric leaders have found the secret to sucess – attract a large crowd, get them fired up about some social issue or about saving them from some hell they created and then passing the collection plate. Sports help the clerics attract more people so the collections will be larger. For them the real true message of Christ is OK but it just doesn't pay very well so they have created a message that does, no matter how far away that message is from true Chrisianity. The evangelicals decieve the athletes who have true religious feelings just as they do people in the general religious community.

    June 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  9. objecttothis

    This article gives a stark reminder that there is a huge misunderstanding of what Christianity is. The very beauty of the Gospel is that God says "I accept you as you are" but this means that Christians are just as beat up and battered sinners as the next guy. Being a Christian does not mean that they either preach or are perfect. You will never surprise a genuine Christian by confronting them on their sin. It doesn't surprise me one bit that Tressel did wrong things. The reality is that what is meant to draw people to follow Jesus (forgiveness despite having wronged God) seems to cause people to be surprised when a Christian does something wrong. it shouldn't.

    I don't mean to say that what Tressel did was good any more than I would say that my own sin is good... it isn't, and it isn't acceptable. What I am saying is that Tressel is accountable for his actions but isn't defined by them.

    June 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
    • Jason

      Practice what you preach is some of the most common, and easily understood advice that anyone can give or receive.

      It is not the fact that Tressel is a Christian that makes his behavior more noxious than it would have been already. It's the fact that he actively preaches about his beliefs, as though he were a higher authority. Being a football coach does not make you qualified to tell other people how to live their lives. The fact that he is worse than the average person, but holding himself up to be better than the average Christian, sends the message that he should either never have been preaching, or that the average Christian is much worse than the average person.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • coxxon

      Your last sentence shows what is so wrong with Christianity, when people don't consider themselves ultimately responsible to other people (or even themselves) but to an imaginary super-being. By your logic: "is accountable for his actions but isn't defined by them." is an excuse for every pedophile, murderer, crook, abuser, and Hitler wannabe that's ever been.
      Our actions ARE exactly what define us to others. An a life philosophy of being held responsible for them by any idea of a god is a disgusting cop-out.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
  10. aaron

    The problem is that people believe Athletes and Coaches are perfect, do no wrong, and praise them way too much. JT has done a lot of good, helped a lot of young kids become great young men, has done a lot for his community, and has also done a lot that nobody will ever talk about. Unfortunately, due to his mistakes, people will not look at this or ignore it. Did he mess up? Sure did. Does he know it? Sure does. Does it make him a bad human? A bad Christian? Everyone makes mistakes and you have to pay for those mistakes. JT, no matter what you believe, made mistakes in the handling of the information he received. He has lost his job, his reputation and career have taken a massive hit, these are the consequences he faces. Does this mean that his book and everything he has said is a sham? Not at all.

    June 4, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Jason

      Jim Tressel didn't make a mistake, he made a selfish decision. A mistake is when you make the wrong decision without realizing that you're making the wrong decision. Tressel made a decision that he KNEW was morally and ethically wrong. Not only did he not reveal the wrongdoing of his players (which is his duty as both coach and a supposedly upstanding Christian), he actively worked to cover it up. Then, when that wrongdoing came to light, he actively worked to shift the blame, and then lied about virtually every important detail of the situation.

      Jim Tressel engaged in a pattern of behavior that the vast majority of people would NOT engage in. He is worthy of scorn for that reason alone. The fact that he has willingly represented himself as morally superior and an example of pious Christianity only makes it that much worse: Not for Tressel, but for any other Christian.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  11. Jason

    This is a silly article. By his logic, nobody should ever articulate any moral standards at all. Because if, by some chance, you are less than perfect (like everyone else on the planet), anything you ever said is now a lie. Really, Krattenmaker? Really?

    June 4, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • Jason

      Hi Jason, I'm also Jason. I'll make this very simple for you:

      If you have a lower level of personal integrity than most of the people you're trying to preach to, then you shouldn't be preaching to them about personal integrity.

      Just as a poor person should not be conducting a seminar on building wealth, a liar and a cheater should not be telling other people how to conduct their lives in an upright way. If you cannot demonstrate expertise in your actions, your words are worse than meaningless: they are an indictment against you.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  12. Ginger315

    Firstly, nobody is perfect, not Christian, atheist, Jew, Muslim, etc; to think otherwise if foolish. Jim Tressel has been caught for his infractions, but unlike the rest of us, has to suffer the humiliation in public again and again. I'm glad he was caught and I'm a Bible believing Christian, so yes, DaMoose, we all get what we deserve sooner or later.

    June 4, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • DaMoose

      Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the Lord see it and be displeased.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
    • Jason

      "You better be good, you better not cry, you better not pout I'm tellin' you why: Santa Clause is coming to town"

      June 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
  13. Nate

    Rhetoric and behavior are rarely in agreement. Indeed, one can observe the amount of, and energy behind, the rhetoric and be reasonably assured that the proportionally opposite behavior can be expected. One reason may be that, when an individual adopts a rhetoric that serves their needs, their degree of adherence to the tenants of the rhetoric, diminishes actions that are in conflict with those beliefs and even justifies those actions within the realm of those beliefs. In other words, he may have adhered so strongly to his Christian views, that he was able to rationalize his acts as reflecting the higher principles he promoted.

    This, of course, is destructive, and it is important to question those who engage in strict adherence to a set of beliefs, as it has been shown that the actions of that individual are usually in conflict with those beliefs.

    June 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
    • Jason

      By definition, adhering to beliefs is acting according to those beliefs.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  14. Terry Moore

    One day, my prince will come... (Disney)..One day the American people will stop, hopefully, mixing religion with everything else.. They have not yet reached the level of religiously endorsing a brand of toilet paper, but when that comes, I, for one, will not be surprised.. ever heard of the notion of separation between religion and state ? Well, people of the -incredible number of multiple faiths, only in America- it is time that you learn that religion (your stuff) is not the way to conduct world affairs, sports affairs, politics, wars, social affairs, etc....Religion is private and personal.. Please KEEP IT THAT WAY !

    June 4, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  15. Dave McGuire

    Spectator sports and organized religion were made for each other. Both are pointless, damaging wastes of time and money.

    June 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Nate O'Brien

      Well said.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Andrew

      The same argument could be applied to movies, TV, video games, concerts, and virtually anything else humans use to relax and enjoy in their spare time. While I have no love of religion, at all, and vehemently argue belief is unwarranted, it's still unreasonable to portray things like sports as waste of time. Our family had guests over yesterday where a woman was telling us about how the Stanley cup play-offs have been repairing broken relationships in her family, coming together to watch the Canucks win. I stayed up till 3:30 with my dad watching the Djokovic Federer match and enjoyed every minute. Sports are fun to watch, why should we treat them any worse than film? Or do you argue we should be without any form of entertainment at all? That seems decidedly anti-human for as far as recorded history goes.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • E

      Spectators sports are a form of religion, and all religions are a form of sport. They become damaging when people actually believe that a MAN/WOMAN has all the answers. Of course, the only people who can stand to waste 1/2 of their free time watching a boob tube and howling like a banshee are those without the mental faculties to resist the power of mass hypnosis.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  16. PK1970

    People are people so when someone makes a mistake, error, or delibrately did something wrong/illegal. That doesn't mean that person was a fake/phony the entire time; it simply means that the person had an error in judgement. Stop judging people when they fall and looking for every person of faith to be perfect. Jim Tressel, Barry Bonds. Albert Pujols and whomever claims Jesus The Christ has never said they were perfect.

    June 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
    • Andrew

      They don't claim they're perfect, but they claim that being a christian indicates a good strong moral compass. They then should be held to a higher standard because they act like they have one. It's the same as the catholic church going "We claim to speak for god and when one of us messes up suddenly we're held to a higher standard?"

      June 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • Jason

      Andrew, there is a difference between holding a person to a higher standard and blaming his belief system for his actions. I agree that Christians should be held to a higher standard, because Jesus did set a higher standard for humanity. But, this article is implying that when Christians fail to meet that higher standard, that it reflects poorly on Jesus himself, which is illogical in my opinion.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • Andrew

      It's not that it reflects poorly on jesus, which is absurd, considering I don't believe in god in the first place, rather it allows the realisation that christians in general do not abide by a higher standard. Christians are not in general better people than non-christians, they are just as likely to mess up. It means that christians really shouldn't be saying people have 'christian values' as though it is a good thing, or that by being christian you are somehow a better or good person.

      Stories like this highlight just the fact that being christian doesn't make you good. How many times do you hear about murderers "I never would have suspected it, he went to church every day", as though somehow being religious means you are more likely to be a decent human being. That is about as unsupported as the story of jesus being the son of god. After all, christians have a roughly par per capita prison population as their general representation in the country, it's not that being christian makes you a worse person, but it certainly doesn't indicate you are a better one.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  17. Ttom

    In my experience, those who claim a great christian faith and display the symbols are generally crooks. It's just a smoke screen.

    June 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
    • Kbux

      I feel bad for Tressel. He has made some big mistakes and if he's a true Christian will try to repair any damage done and apologize for his actions. He's also done a lot of good that should be remembered.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • DaMoose

      Yea, what a Schmuck.


      Among the supporters is the family of the late Gene Fekete, an All-American who helped the Buckeyes capture their first national championship in 1942, 10TV's Andy Hirsch reported on Thursday.

      For many of the players on the '42 team, football was put on the back burner when World War II called.

      "Here were a number of very able-bodied men, playing the game of football that the federal government thought, 'Your talents could be better utilized for us,'" said Steven Fakete, Gene Fekete's son.

      After his career at Ohio State, Gene Fekete went on to play with the Cleveland Browns. He eventually returned to Columbus to serve as an assistant coach at his alma mater. Throughout the years, however, something eluded Fekete and his teammates: championship rings.

      According to Steven Fakete, his father struck up a conversation with Tressel after seeing the coach's championship ring from the 2002 season. It was then that Tressel learned that the players from the 1942 squad were never given rings to commemorate their achievement.

      "They didn't get to order rings; they ordered train tickets to Fort Benning or wherever they were going to take care of our country," Tressel said in 2003.

      According to Gary Fakete, Gene Fakete's other son, Tressel wanted to help, and he asked his father for a favor.

      "(Tressel) said, 'If it would be possible, do you think you can get me ring sizes for all the living members?'" Gary Fakete said.

      Tressel then spearheaded an effort to get the surviving members of the 1942 team rings of their own. The Fekete family said there were even rumors that he used some of his own money to make it happen, Hirsch reported.

      It was a gesture that the Fekete family feels speaks volumes about the former coach.

      "I think in part it defined who he is as a man and as a human being," Steven Fakete said, "and it says that he's kind and very caring."

      Gene Fekete passed away in April, but his sons said the ring will stay in the family forever.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
    • Anony

      I wouldn't say all of them, but many are hypocrites.
      Like all of the big money, big church pastors like Joel Osteen.

      From TIme Magazine:

      "The movement's renaissance has infuriated a number of prominent pastors, theologians and commentators. Fellow megapastor Rick Warren, whose book The Purpose Driven Life has outsold Osteen's by a ratio of 7 to 1, finds the very basis of Prosperity laughable. "This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?", he snorts. "There is a word for that: baloney. It's creating a false idol. You don't measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn't everyone in the church a millionaire?"

      Osteen uses that rationalization for his money, just like Tressel was a phony.
      The religion of these people is CAPITALISM not CHRISTIANITY.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • Robert

      Amen to that!

      June 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • crucified

      Like mother theresa.....You statement lumps all into an unfair catagory.. I don't think mother theresa ever robbed you blind.

      June 4, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
  18. MKC8222

    In my humble opinion he is still has great a testimony to Christ as ever before. He exemplifies that even Christians are NOT perfect, but are MADE perfect by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. We will never be perfect in this life by our actions. We will fall, we will fail and will do miserably stupid things, but it shows how mighty the saving grace of Christ is, that He still loves us and offers us His mercy. The rest of the world may criticize and mock his faith now, but Christ said that we would be persecuted for our beliefs, and trust me, people WANT to find something wrong with Christianity. They can't understand how you can get something without having given something first. It defies everything this world has to say. Yes Tressel made a mistake and fell, but every Christian does and the misconception that Christians are perfect is the problem. It's focusing on us, not on the real message of Christianity, that Christ makes us perfect inspite of the stupid stuff we do.

    June 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Jim

      So what you are saying is because he calls himself a Christian and puts on a Christian face that he is instantly absolved of basically criminal acts. If he wasn't playing the Christian card you would hate him. But I guess it's just part of sticking to your "team" no matter how wrong it is, am I correct?

      June 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Andrew

      Um, you people give up quite a lot. Time, often money, and quite a lot of logic. I mean, if what you're saying is true, Feynman, Dirac, Einstein, Sagan, etc are all in hell, so believing in a religion which condemns people whose only crime is requiring empirical evidence for belief, your religion clearly requires you to give up a lot. I would not want to give up my mind just to gain some favor with a god who requires sycophantic praise. That makes heaven sound rather hellish indeed. Just because you don't care about intellectual honesty doesn't mean all of us feel so quick to abandon it.

      June 4, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Annatala Wolf

      Based on that logic, anyone who evangelizes is immune from criticism. That presumes that all evangelists are honest, and to be fair, neither of us know what Jim actually believes.

      I don't believe that Christianity should be attacked for every hypocrite it produces, but it is worthy of note that a sizable chunk of the world's biggest hypocrites are also the loudest proclaimers of their faith. This is not unexpected, given what we understand of how cognitive dissonance works in human psychology.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • Margot707

      If both teams pray and claim "Jesus in on our side," how does anyone win? Or if they won and say "Jesus was on our side," does that mean the other team didn't pray hard enough?

      June 4, 2011 at 5:36 pm |
    • john

      Right...your name wouldn't be "Delusional" would it?

      June 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
  19. keylargo

    Religion was good entertainment before movies, TV etc, only place for it now days is in tents in very rural places. Phony cheaters like Tressel need to haunt those revival tents and not mess with the minds of young men.

    June 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Kurt

      Have you ever cheated at anything before "Keylargo"? Id so and you are currently dealing justice, you might want to find a tent of your own...we can all see sin (A.K.A your reason for putting people in tents), but not everyone is trying to rebuke it from within themselves. Think about "loving the person and hating the sinful actions"...it is biblical, and the only hope for the redemption of man. I pray the spirit of the Lord will intercede. God bless

      June 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Jason

      I don't cheat at anything. Don't cheat on my girlfriend, don't cheat on my taxes, don't cheat at games, either. Twice when I was a child I got caught stealing something (one time it was a bauble from a friend, and another time it was a pack of gum from the grocery store.) I haven't stolen anything since.

      Unless you have some sort of mental illness, there's no reason you can't live your life honestly, with or without religion.

      June 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Mike Houston

      To Kurt...Say What!!! Take your piety somewhere (Anywhere!) away from the sports stadiums...

      June 4, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  20. DaMoose

    The Pulitzer Prize winning author’s story is falling apart before your eyes. Guess they must give out those awards with as much thought as the Nobel.




    June 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Anony

      IF you think Tressel wasn't guilty, you're dreaming.

      June 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • DaMoose

      And you think....Bible-quoting, holier than thou, "Christian coach" got what he deserved?

      June 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.