Professional athletes are looked up to by many young people in America as heroes and role models. Sadly, sometimes they do not live up to the responsibility that comes with their fame to be good examples and upright, admirable citizens.
So when an athletic star does exemplify the kinds of values we want our children to emulate, it is good to celebrate that individual and honor him or her.
Well, the President is singling out an athlete for special recognition at the State of the Union address this evening.
We might have expected the President would invite one of the following, but shockingly it is none of these who will be so honored - despite their impressive roster of good deeds:
- Albert Pujols, the Dominican-born MLB pitcher and a devout Christian, is the founder and chairman of the Pujols Family Foundation, a charity benefiting people with Down syndrome and whose mission statement is "to live and share our commitment to faith, family and others."
- Larry Fitzgerald, an NFL wide receiver, founded The First Down Fund which has built an impressive resume of charitable giving and special projects, including providing summer youth programming for urban youth in America and helping to fund research for childhood illnesses.
- Eli Manning, (who hardly needs an introduction as to his professional talents), is less known for his having raised $2.5 mil. for the University of Mississippi's Medical Center's Children's Hospital and many other charitable contributions.
- Clayton Kershaw, a Cy Young Award winner and three-time All Star in the National League has been inducted into the Baseball Humanitarians Hall of Fame, donates significant portions of his paychecks to causes in Africa and helped build a successful orphanage in Zambia.
- Steve Smith, the NFL wide receiver, is the NFL ambassador to a charity called Samaritan's Feet, which gives shoes to homeless people, and he has personally participated in the charity's practice of washing their aid recipients' feet, a beautiful ritual imbued with Biblical meaning.
- Jeremy Affeldt, the San Francisco Giant's pitcher, has worked for years preventing sex trafficking of young women around the world with an initiative called the NotForSale campaign.
- Tim Tebow, the NFL player most known for his public manifestations of his Christian faith, practices what he preaches, having built a $3 mil. hospital in the Philippines, in addition to hostin regular charity events and participating in Make-a-Wish programs.
No, instead of any of these, the President has chosen to bestow such honor and admiration on Jason Collins - and presumably solely for his coming out last year as the first openly gay player in the NBA.
For what it’s worth, in today’s gay-affirming culture - where being gay or lesbian is celebrated constantly in the entertainment world and highlighted seemingly daily in the news - we don’t think that “coming out” is particularly heroic.
We assume that Jason Collins has done some fine things as a person to better society and help those in need. We’d be more interested in learning of those efforts than in having his sexuality shoved at us by the man that Newsweek dubbed, “the first gay President."