Ted Kluck writes an "open letter" sports column for Christianity Today. He recently wrote a
letter to Donte Stallworth that I liked. Why do fans get so indignant about Michael Vick returning to the field after serving jailtime for killing dogs while Donte Stallworth killed a PERSON and served almost no jail time yet had the green light to play?
Thankfully, the NFL suspended Stallworth for the season today.
But it makes you think-- do you want these people getting your money and attention? Is it moral? I've made the case here before that it's immoral to support MLB, and I stand by that contention. I also recently lamented the million dollar hirings of Lane Kiffin and John Calipari at a time when universities were slashing departments and teachers due to budget crises.
The Rick Pitino soap opera is something that has me questioning allegiance to NCAA basketball. Facts:
1. Pitino has a morality clause in his contract.
"There is a morals clause in section six, page eight of Pitino's lucrative contract that allows the school to fire him with just cause for acts of 'moral depravity' or being dishonest with the university. It also allows him to be terminated with cause for generating disparaging publicity, if it is caused by his 'willful conduct that could objectively be determined to bring the employee in public dispute or scandal, or which tends to greatly offend the public.'"
2. Pitino had drunken sex with an aide present, impregnated a stranger, then payed $3,000 for her abortion.
3. Pitino is an outspoken Catholic who started a large foundation on behalf of his son Daniel who died in infancy.
4. UL's AD says he stands by Pitino "One million percent," while UL's president says he accepts Pitino's apology and wants to move on.
So, there are no repercussions. What Pitino did certainly wasn't illegal, therefore it isn't immoral either? 20 years ago coaches at major universities got fired for having affairs. Not so anymore.
Are you contributing to this behavior? Are you buying the tickets and boosting ad revenue by watching the games on TV? Are you donating money to the program and buying the memorabilia? Are you demanding the people in charge to change? Are you holding anyone accountable? Can Christians be "salt" and "light" and the church be "the pillar and support of truth" without Christians crying "foul!"?
Many of my Christian friends still defend MLB despite the weekly revealing of players who cheated and lied, and a commissioner (Bud Selig) who has tried to cover it up for several years while making millions in salary. They just fork over their cash. Yet many are incensed about Democratic politicians who are pro-choice (ie: immoral in a different way) and claim a moral high ground. How is this not hypocrisy?
If I don't agree with the huge salaries and benefits paid to coaches and programs which create debatable value in terms of academics and live lives that don't value life and demonstrate character then how can I keep watching? How can I wear the t-shirt? How can I root for them? Would Jesus?
*Update* This Adrian Wojnarowski article on Yahoo! sheds more light on the Pitino culture.