It might be nice to have the athletic skills of a professional athlete, and it sure might be nice to be paid like a professional athlete. However, I am grateful I don’t have to answer to the media like a professional athlete does. I don’t have to answer for that missed catch, tackle, pitch, field goal, penalty shot, or corner kick. I also don’t have to answer to the media for any skeletons in my closet. I’ve never had to have a press conference about my personal life. I’ve never had a speeding ticket that was a headline on the news the next day.
Now I’ve never been inside a meeting between a team owner and a player, but I imagine there are conversations that happen expressing to the player, “Do not embarrass this organization.” The team leaders don’t want the media frenzy and drama of criticism that takes place when an athlete makes headlines for compromising situations. I’m sure the Cleveland Browns wanted to be answering more questions about Johnny Manziel’s athletic ability more than answering about his partying, or about Josh Gordon’s suspension. I’m sure the New York Yankees would like to never hear another question about Alex Rodriguez steroid controversy again. In fact some organizations will stay away from players that will only draw a media circus. I can’t imagine Tim Tebow would be unemployed by a football franchise if his presence didn’t automatically bring headlines and unnecessary press time.
There are reasons guys like Adrian Peterson, Derek Jeter, Peyton Manning, Rafael Nadal, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Durant are all known as franchise players and sports spokesmen. Their media attention is mostly positive. However, if one of them did have a moral fall, or became involved in some scandal, I am sure their public images would be reshaped fairly quickly in a different light as portrayed by the media. However from all public personification, these athletes represent their families, teams, and sports as well as they possibly can.
As Christians I think our public image has been taking hits. When we allow ourselves to think we only represent ourselves, I think we make a great mistake. We represent our God in the way we work, socialize, and especially in our treatment of other people. If the media was covering my next day of life, I wonder if they would have a lot of positive things to say, or if the headlines would be shameful or embarrassing. A major difference that can be determined, however, is that although a franchise decide a player wouldn’t be a good addition because of their public image, or that he or she may be a headache to coach, or maybe they have issues with the law, God handles His franchise a little differently. He doesn’t care about our headlines, He’s not afraid to bring us in. He wants us on His team despite our flaws. Whether we are a franchise player or a role player, He is just as forgiving and loving. That is the type of organization I would like to be a part of. Its not an organization at all, it’s a kingdom, and one that I desire to represent.
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