Columnist Dan McGraw over at Salon.com has an editorial up chiding professional athletes for engaging in too much PDR (Public Displays of Religion):
Stop the holy showboating. Listen up, jocks: God doesn’t care if you score a touchdown. So do your praying in private, not in the end zone.
In the second week of the NFL season, Dallas Cowboy quarterback Quincy Carter heaved a 38-yard pass into the end zone. Cowboy receiver Joey Galloway was double-covered, but somehow outfought the defensive players for an amazing touchdown catch. In the middle of the field, in front of 70,000 fans and millions watching on TV, Carter pointed to the heavens in acknowledgment of the Supreme Being’s role as touchdown-maker. And in the post-game interview, commenting on his stellar performance, Carter gave “credit to God for giving me the innate ability to perform.”
It’s kind of funny, but in Week 1 of the NFL season, against the expansion Houston Texans, Carter had the worst performance of his short career. Balls were bouncing at the feet of receivers and there were no touchdown passes, miraculous or not. And in the locker room after the game, God was never mentioned.
The article is basically a rant on how overtly religious some athletes have gotten and how silly they are about it. From the highlight reels they show during local newscasts I’ve gotten a feel for just how much showboating of this sort is taking place these days. Dan makes some excellent points about how quickly these pros are willing to credit any success they have to being God’s will or blessing yet won’t comment on how pissed off God must be when their performance in a game stinks to high heaven.
Even if I believed in a personal God of the sort presented by Christianity, I’d be a little offended at the idea that someone was claiming God was concerned one way or the other about the outcome of something as unimportant as a pro sports game. There are much bigger issues in the world that could use a little of such a God’s attention than whether or not a particular team wins a particular game. As a result, all this pro-God talk from the athletes comes across to me as self-serving PR bullshit. Good thing I’m not a sports orientated person or I’d spend a lot more of my time being annoyed.