I don’t watch NFL. The sound of a football game on TV brings back memories of Sunday afternoons where my dad wouldn’t let anything be on the TV that didn’t involve the Broncos (don’t get the wrong idea here – I have fond memories of hanging out with my Dad…I just didn’t share his fondness of boring TV when I was growing up under his roof). In fact, the only reason I know anything about Bob Costas is because he’s the nice man who appears on my TV screen every two years when the Olympics are on (you know – real sports). I am so far-removed from the NFL that I wasn’t even aware that Mr. Costas did anything other than cover the Olympics. So you can imagine my surprise when I started seeing hateful comments about Bob Costas appearing on my Facebook newsfeed after the December 2nd Sunday Night Football presentation on NBC. To put it lightly, Costas said some things during halftime that indirectly addressed the issue of gun control, which upset some people. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, see it here.
Maybe it’s because I live in Kansas City, where people are already pretty grumpy about the local NFL “situation,” but the reaction I saw from Bob Costas’ comments was swift and not the least bit restrained. Apparently people reeeeally like their guns. But I’m not here to talk about gun control, nor am I here to talk about my opinion of whether or not Mr. Costas stepped outside of his job description as a sportscaster (although, Mitch Albom’s article pretty much sums up my feelings on the matter).
I have a pretty diverse group of people in my social networking circle, and it includes both Christians and non-Christians (among other sociological divisions). So you can imagine my disappointment when ALL of the negative, nasty comments I read about Bob Costas were from my Christian friends. So I had to ask myself, Why do the Christians hate Bob Costas? Could it really be that my Christian friends love their guns so much that they are willing to step outside the scope of Christ-like behavior and sling mud at a man they’ve never had a conversation with? Is defending [their interpretation of] the 2nd Amendment so important that they should abandon everything they’ve learned about showing the love of Christ?
After what I witnessed with the re-election of President Obama, perhaps so.
Still, more than a week after the incident, some conservative Christians are still griping about Bob Costas. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a nice break from the weeping and gnashing of teeth that came after election day – but I’m not comfortable with the fact that I have aligned myself with a group of people who will, in one instant, complain that the Ten Commandments and corporate prayer are banned in public schools, and in the other instant, hiss at Bob Costas for exercising his First Amendment rights.
I’m not saying that Christians shouldn’t disagree with Bob Costas. We’re all entitled to our opinions. One of the great things about America is our freedom to say whatever we want. So go ahead and disagree with him – talk about it, even. But one of the great things about being a follower of Jesus is that we can rise above all of the muck that comes along with free speech and show people that, even in the midst of differing opinions, we can show love to anybody – even a sportscaster who trespasses on our three-hour football game with a 90-second opinion.
Now… go spend some time in Titus, Chapter 3.