Now I am a Christian, so it often makes me uncomfortable when outlets like ESPN.com start putting out articles about players and their testimonials on how God helped them in a game. In journalism, you have to take an impartial view on the news — in theory, anyway. Of course, sometimes you end up taking it too far by swinging the other way and openly mocking anything that has to do with the divine.
LZ Granderson of ESPN.com, though, scolds his fellow sportswriters for their quickness to mock Jon Kitna just because he claimed that God helped take his pain away (after he suffered a concussion in Week 2 and returned to play in the 4th quarter.)
Now, a few things to keep in mind here:
- More than likely, this is one of those things manufactured on ESPN.com where they make an issue out of nothing. I’d never heard of this mockery of Kitna until Granderson (and to some point, fellow writer DJ Gallo) made a point of it. I’d not read of any outrage in the Detroit News or Detroit Free Press, who you thing would be on the all to cover this if it became an issue.
- Jon Kitna didn’t say that God helped win the game, as most people would be lead to believe. (And who could blame them? The “God was on our side” blurb always gets trotted out by winning teams.) He said that God gave him the strength to continue playing through his pain. Doesn’t this sorta negate the whining that “If God was on the Lion’s side, explain the last 50 years”? No, He was not necessarily looking out for the Lions. But He WAS looking out for Jon Kitna.
- A similar controversy would have arisen if Jon Kitna had said, “What, you think a little concussion would stop an unstoppable He-Man like me?” The big difference is where you’re placing the credit: God or yourself? (You could also say “teammates,” but that seems like a hollow compliment if you’re the one fighting through a concussion.)
Anyway, best of wishes to Jon Kitna and the always hapless Detroit Lions. I was never really a fan (when I lived in Detroit, absolutely NOTHING could induce a raging headache quite like a Lions game), but I’d be a happy camper if the Lions could make it to the Super Bowl at least once in my lifetime.