Unsportsmanlike conduct

As soon as the TMZ video of former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice hitting his then fiancée in an elevator went viral, the NFL went on the defensive and is still fumbling to respond. Since then, other reports of players involved in alleged child abuse and domestic violence cases have forced the NFL to reconsider its policies and procedures for players who are accused and/or convicted of misconduct off the field. By their very nature many sports are physical or even violent on the field of play. Most athletes have to maintain fitness and conditioning even during the off-season in order to prevent injuries during the grueling season. Many voices are now questioning whether athletes are able to “turn it off” once the game is over.

The Problem

Everyone, including youth, can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence or physical abuse. Youth who are just beginning to test out romantic relationships, who play in youth sports leagues, or who are simply hanging out with friends can be exposed to a variety of behavior, including physical abuse. High schools across the nation are rallying around their “Homecoming Weekends,” which often involve a football game, parade, extra pre- and post-game activities, and a dance. While this is an exciting time, it also can be a time of increased alcohol and drug abuse, physical abuse, and sexual assault.

Following Jesus’ Example

Jesus made it clear that violence against other human beings is not acceptable. Followers of Jesus are called to act with mercy, kindness, and love instead of judgment. Christians today have a variety of resources to help them respond to abuse in Christlike ways. Like Jesus, we are called to stand with victims of domestic violence and physical abuse, caring for them while also working for justice within social and legal structures.

Question of the Day: What do you think about the recent news of athletes committing acts of violence?

Focal Scriptures: Matthew 10:16-33; Isaiah 1:16-17; James 2:14-26; 3:13-18

For a complete lesson on this topic visit LinC.

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