Faith and Sports, by Eric Jensen
The NFL offseason in February is a barren wasteland. The League is quiet after the Super Bowl; except for one infuriating story. Antonio Brown, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-star wide receiver, regarded widely as the leagues best target, is in the midst of a soap opera with his team. Brown wants out. He’s been extremely public in his dismay with his current organization. He doesn’t like his quarterback anymore, he wants more money, and he believes he is not valued as he should be. Give me a break. Personally I’m sick of this story. It’s reported ad nauseum and never-ending, and Brown is endlessly annoying in his antics.
This is nothing new. Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Chad Ochocino. These are all what the NFL world likes to call “diva wide receivers”. Guys who believe in their heart of hearts that they are the best, and refuse to listen to authority. Endlessly entertaining to watch but a tremendous head ache off the field for any team employing them. I bring up Brown and diva wide receivers in general because they remind me of someone, teenage Jesus.
In Luke 2: 41-52 Jesus goes to the Temple for a Jewish naming ceremony. When his family leaves he is left behind by accident. It’s “Home Alone” of biblical proportions (see what I did there). When Mary and Joseph come back they find Jesus debating the Pharisees. Now, first of all, you don’t just debate the teachers in the Temple at 13 years old. These guys are probably sitting there thinking “who the heck is this kid to be talking to us this way?” Young Jesus doesn’t understand his place as a kid. Much like a diva wide receiver doesn’t understand they are part of a team. The show isn't all about them. Football is a team game; one player is not greater than the sum of the team. I truly believe that.
Second, when Mary and Joseph want to know where their kid has been all this time and why he basically left them, he comes back with un-real amounts of sass! “Don’t you know this is my Father’s house?” It all comes back to tone (as I’ve said before in previous articles, and from the pulpit) but I read that as “sass” coming from Jesus. I feel like if I talked to my parents like that, which I probably have, I would get a stern response back. Sass is another quality of a diva wide receiver. Brown has come out publicly and said “Pay me or else”, and taken shots at his QB’s character.
The difference between Brown and Jesus is that Jesus saved us from our sins and, well, he’s Jesus. If you think about it, Jesus was a diva his entire life. He certainly wasn’t always respectful of his elders or those above his station. He wasn’t the greatest team player necessarily, though he preached about being a team player quite a few times. More on that later. You obviously can’t bad-mouth Jesus, but sometimes I think it’s important to step back and see that the guy wasn’t perfect. He was fully human. He had his flaws, much like Brown; though as a player those
didn’t take away from his value. For me it’s helpful to remember though, that throughout basically his entire life, Jesus was a diva wide receiver.
Eric is a journalism major at SLCC, and is in process of enrolling at the U this fall.