2018-09-13 / Sports

FOLLOWING SPORTS RELIGIOUSLY

By Mike Wilson
Sports Reporter


Mike Wilson Mike Wilson Unless you have been visiting another planet the past couple of weeks you have probably seen or at least heard of the latest Nike commercial. In the controversial ad Nike features former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as a hero for his protesting of police violence against minorities, by kneeling during the National Anthem.

It has become a very polarizing issue with many being upset that he would be elevated to this level. The ad has sparked protests, people posting videos of burning of their Nike shoes, boycotts against the purchase of Nike shoes, and many strong comments from conservative TV and radio hosts as well as President Trump also weighing in on the issue. Yet despite all of this Nike’s sales have increased by 31 percent since the commercial first ran.

I think this all shows that we have a great divide in this country and unfortunately sports has been pulled down into the muck and the mire. The division seems to be between young and old, one reason for Nike’s increased sales is that the young people who buy their products see this as an act of rebellion and courage and are supporting Nike. It seems to divide us along racial boundaries, this protest, at least at some level is about police violence against minorities. Many see those who are angry about Kaepernick’s protests as supporters of police brutality.

It seems to divide us along political lines, with the Democrats embracing the players protest while the Republicans are standing with law enforcement and shaming those who kneel during the National Anthem.

I think it is sad that sports have become a political football (no pun intended) and are being used in this way. There are a lot of very good things in sports and those things tend to get lost when politicians rush to the cameras and microphones.

Here is the Nike commercial that I would like to see.

At a recent soccer game I had the privilege to witness an act of compassion that touched me deeply. During warm-ups it is the duty of the officials to check and see that everyone is wearing the correct gear and that it fits properly. Evidently the official noticed that one of the players had ill-fitting, held together by athletic tape shin guards. The official could have banned the player from playing in the game, he could have shamed and embarrassed the young man, but instead he did something really cool. Just before the game was to begin the official asked the coach to quietly send the young man to see him. The official took the young man aside and showed him in the rule book the rule about proper gear being required, then he very quietly reached into his own bag and produced a brand new set of shin guards, gave them to the young man and told him that they were his to keep. The young man smiled thanked the official and quickly returned to the bench where he quickly replaced his old guards with the new ones.

Now that is a commercial with a powerful message.

Matthew 13:14-17 says this, “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: ‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, And seeing you will see and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.”

I’m not sure what the answer to all of the division in our country is, but I do know that until we really see what’s going on and see the needs of those around us. And we start listening and hearing what people are really saying nothing will ever change. Sports is a good place to start.

Just something to think about.

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