"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14, NASB).
Last Tuesday, the cover story of the sports section in USA Today focused on professional athletes and strip clubs. Many pro athletes have ruined their lives at strip clubs in recent years. They have destroyed their marriages and their reputations. In a few cases, people have been injured seriously and killed in the violence. Amazingly, many athletes and sports media personalities defended the self-indulgent, irresponsible, and immature actions of their colleagues.
One paragraph in Michael McCarthy's article caught my attention. John Sally defended the athletes at strip clubs. Mr. McCarthy wrote, "Or, as John Sally, the former Detroit Pistons forward and now co-host of FSN's Best Damn Sports Show Period, puts it: 'Where do you take warriors? To church? No, you take them around a bunch of scantily dressed women who make them feel like stars" (C2, Tuesday, November 13, 2007, USA Today).
I have several thoughts about Mr. Sally's perspective.
First, I realize that some churches may not appeal to men, because they have emasculated Christianity. Men are not encouraged to be strong, to be heroic, to be brave, to be protectors and providers. However, Jesus Christ modeled those qualities as well as compassion and gentleness. He calls us to follow his lead. Churches need to encourage selfless risk-taking for the sake of others.
Second, athletes are not warriors. They play games for a living. They do not fight wars. Athletes who have grown up will be responsible men who love and respect their wives, take care of their children, and build honorable reputations. Athletes who remain in adolescence will be the childish men who frequent strip clubs in order to receive attention from loose women who want to stroke the egos of make-believe warriors.
Finally, John Sally co-hosts the Best Damn Sports Show Period. I remember a few years ago when, after Ohio State University won the national championship in football, the coach called the team "the best damn football team period." To paraphrase Jesus: If you are a part of the best damned anything, but lose your soul, what does it profit you? It is time for everyone to re-evaluate what is important in life.