That being said, my friends and family know that I am two things (among a few others):
1. I am a Sports fan in general, with my great love cast to football. But I love sports...basketball, hockey, soccer (sorry my English friends), and yes Baseball. I pay attention to standings, watch for major stories... I watch Mike and Mike almost everyday for the latest news. SO, put me down as a lover of all things sports.
2. I am a Christian. A follower of Jesus, and even though I am well aware that I "miss the mark" in so many ways; I take seriously the call to follow Him...and His ways. Being moral, acting with Christ's character of honesty, love, truth, faith, hope, self-control, are all part of what it means to have Integrity...to be legitimate when it comes to sharing who Jesus is to others, and why I strive to be a disciple of his.
I love many other things besides sports, but this particular musing has to do with Sports and Ryan Braun's suspension. I was not shocked by the suspension, it has long been coming, and anyone and everyone who follows sports in general knew he was going to be suspended. The evidence was incontrovertible and he had been caught. Yet, he is from My team...and that made it hurt a bit more. I felt saddened, and angry. Embarrassed and Disgusted.
I am saddened that he did not just confess to it when it first occurred. I am angry that he didn't confess to it when it first occurred. Now he joins a long list of former baseball players people genuinely question whether or not they have any legitimacy at all in what they have accomplished. I left Baseball (emotionally - that is with any desire to follow it closely) after Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa broke the home run record and it was discovered they were "juiced" with human growth hormones. I don't have time for professional wrestling because its not a contest, but a show, and its rigged, and I hate being duped by anyone. I was disgusted by Ryan's response to the suspension...no mention of the lies, the cover-up, the willingness to use someone else as a scapegoat to escape his own responsibilities. Why cover it up. As a Christian, we have this obligation - "Confess your sins...ask for forgiveness...seek to be reconciled..."
I am equally disgusted by the Brewer's response... "We're glad Ryan is taking this bold step." What bold step? They have a guy who brings people to the stadium and they want their cash cow back.
Speak the truth...someone please.
Is it the money? Sure it is!
That leads me to another question: Do you throw away your values, honesty, integrity because of the dollars? I remember the story of a man who asked a preacher if he would sleep with a woman for $1000. He said in a rather righteous way - "Absolutely not". The man then told him he was a billionaire and he would give him $1 Million dollars if he would sleep with his wife (he wanted an excuse for divorce). The preacher didn't respond...he didn't say "No", he didn't say anything... he was thinking. And so the man looked at him and said, "So it's not about the values, it's negotiating the price!"
Yes, I'm sad and angry...but I end this with some questions to think about. Is it just Ryan Braun we're focusing in on? Well, today, Yes...but there will be more to follow. The pull of the big bucks is so tempting that the apple on that tree is too tempting to let go.
And...Jesus said, "Whoever among you is not guilty of sin, cast the first stone."
There are lots of people who I heard today express their righteous indignation. Yet they can throw their stones without asking if they have a moral high ground. Let me ask:
- Money doesn't enter into my decisions when it comes to truth, honesty and integrity?
- I wouldn't say a lie to someone when asked to do something, or come to something, just because I don't want to say the truth?
- I'll speak the truth and confess my sins to those I need to rather than hiding and pretending that if no one finds out no one is hurt.
We live in a society of people who have learned that from their teachers...in colleges and universities...that their is no truth, that truth is relative, and those who claim to have the truth are narrow bigots.
We live in a society where politicians can speak the political speak and never tell the truth to the citizens who elected them - because they value their power and money more than their integrity.
OK...time to get off my moral high horse.
Maybe they won't forgive you, but I will.