From my most recent article at WorldMag.com:
The past year provided several seminal sports stories. There were remarkable performances by athletes and teams, but what marked 2014 was the significance of events off the field. For Christians like you and me that’s especially significant because, since such events have greater cultural significance and provoke a greater response, they deserve our attention. So, without further ado, here are the five most significant sports stories of 2014 (not ranked in order):
- Jason Collins becomes the first openly homosexual player in the NBA and Michael Sam becomes the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.
Once a bastion of hyper-masculinity and testosterone-driven bravado, professional sports leagues aligned themselves with much of the rest of society in terms of openness to homosexuals. Will we see a significant change in the demographics of professional teams? Time will tell, but even reaching this point shows a significant shift of the cultural landscape.
- Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice headline a rash of domestic abuse cases and are suspended by the NFL.
For a long time athletes could get away with almost anything because of their profile and skill set. No longer. Because of social media and the growing societal awareness of domestic violence, a movement is growing to do away with the double standard. How will professional leagues respond? Will athletes become sacrificial lambs or be made an example of? We don’t yet know, but we do know their protective bubble is deflating.
- Donald Sterling is removed as the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers after making racist remarks. Athletes at several levels wear “I can’t breathe” shirts in the wake of Eric Garner’s death.
. . .