On media day before the Super Bowl,
|Owens may have summoned a higher power, but it didn't help the Eagles.|
Of course, many athletes who praise God after victory do so because what they want to express is humility. But it just doesn’t work. The way to express humility after a sports victory is to praise your teammates, because they actually had something to do with the victory. Don't praise God, because God had nothing to do with whether both your feet came down inbounds.
At this point, the athlete who is sincerely religious might respond, "What I mean is that if I live a moral life and then prevail at the Super Bowl, this gives glory to God, and shows people that if they live a moral life, they will be rewarded, too." That sentiment is admirable. But sometimes athletes who are completely contemptible human beings prevail at the Super Bowl, and then what is the message? Observing the world, we don't see much relationship between those whose for whom virtue comes first and those who get on magazine covers or receive megabucks bonuses. Living a moral life is a goal unto itself, and is its own reward: The reason to live morally, regardless of whether your inspiration is faith or secular philosophy, is that living morally is the right thing to do. As for giving glory to God -- when you help your fellow man or woman, this gives glory to God. Sports events are only games.
| Gregg Easterbrook
Special to NFL.com