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Sports, religion strange bedfellows (CHICAGO SPORTS "JOURNALIST" LAYS INTO INDY COACH TONY DUNGY)
Chicago Sun-Times ^ | February 11, 2007 | RICK TELANDER Sun-Times Columnist

Posted on 02/11/2007 7:48:24 AM PST by Chi-townChief

Everybody thinks Indianapolis Colts coach and Super Bowl XLI champion Tony Dungy is a great guy. Including me.

His calm, considerate approach to the violent game of football is a refreshing departure from the manic, brutal skill set of so many other coaches.

Yet there is a part of Dungy's philosophy that troubles me -- and, I believe, many others -- and that is his insistence upon making proper coaching not just a matter of good heart but of religious zeal, even dogma.

God, he said, was responsible for the Colts' 29-17 victory against the Bears.

Indeed, in the relatively brief trophy-presentation ceremony and news conference that followed the Super Bowl victory at Dolphin Stadium in Miami, Dungy, a devoutly conservative Christian, used the word ''Lord,'' ''God'' or ''Christian'' 10 times while referring to the Colts' success.

He made it clear he was more interested in speaking about his Christian values than about his no-huddle offense.

His religious expression even trumped his honor at being the history-setting first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.

Both he and Bears coach Lovie Smith were not only black coaches, Dungy stated, ''but Christian coaches showing you can win doing it the Lord's way. We're more proud of that.''

It always has seemed peculiar and disconcerting to me that religious beliefs -- mainly fundamentalist Christian ones -- have been so closely aligned with football, especially at the highest levels.

Dungy might believe there is something novel about a Christian coach winning the Super Bowl -- or any major football crown, for that matter -- but it seems more the rule than the exception.

The troubling aspect, of course, is simply that of intolerance.

To wit: Where does the sports teaching end and the proselytizing begin? Where do the religious beliefs of those in authority become standards for those underneath, and when and how does ostracism for those in disagreement kick in?

Would someone like Dungy, for example, be less or more inclined to keep a devout Christian player over, say, a devout Hindu?

We are an overwhelmingly Christian nation. But that is not by design, law or decree, and it seems we sometimes forget this.

Take these post-Super Bowl Dungy statements -- ''The Lord gave me the opportunity,'' ''I think the Lord tests you sometimes to see if you're going to keep the faith,'' ''I think the Lord has really worked on this team,'' ''I wanted to show that you could have Christian principles ... and still be successful,'' ''I'm proud as a Christian coach,'' ''There are a lot of Christian men who can do the job'' -- and substitute the words ''Allah,'' ''Muslim'' or ''Koran'' in appropriate spots and see if your view changes.

Dungy is set to be the honored speaker at the Indiana Family Institute's ''Friends of the Family'' banquet March 20 in Carmel, Ind. There are large Internet posters of him in his Colts coaching garb advertising the event. Tickets cost $75 and will help fund IFI, which is a nonprofit conservative Christian group that recently filed a brief to the 7th Court of Appeals asking that prayer be allowed to start each day on the floor of the Indiana legislature.

IFI is affiliated with Focus on Family, a conservative Christian organization that is gay-repressive and is holding a conference about homosexuality this weekend in Phoenix that will be protested by gay- advocacy groups.

''We will be presenting the truth about homosexuality,'' Focus on Family spokeswoman Melissa Fryrear said in a statement, adding that her group will show gays ''it is possible to walk away from homosexuality.''

It is perhaps ironic that former NBA player John Amaechi just ''came out'' and said he is gay, adding that he didn't think an openly gay player could survive in the pros because of prejudice.

I always have wondered how religion and tolerance bed down.

And I long have wondered if preachers such as Dungy should stick to X's and O's.

• • This might surprise you, but there are now 4,000 wolves in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota. Once an endangered species that had been hunted nearly to extinction, wolves have been removed from the endangered list in those states.

Having come face to face with a wolf on a dirt road in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in late fall a couple of years ago, I can tell you it is a hair-raising experience.

It's always nice to be in a car with a big windshield.

• • Mike Tyson has checked himself into an inpatient treatment program near Phoenix for ''various addictions'' while awaiting trial on drug charges.

It will be interesting to follow this guy with the nutty face tattoo and the ruined boxing reputation to the very end.

I just think the odds of it finishing happily ever after are so bad that they wouldn't even be taken in Las Vegas.

• • Prince's phallic guitar display at the Super Bowl has faded from memory like purple rain in the Everglades.

Now why was it that Janet Jackson's momentarily exposed nipple shield at the Super Bowl two years ago was so horrifying?

• • Sacramento Kings star Ron Artest recently had his Great Dane, Socks, taken from him by authorities because the animal was starving.

Maybe it's just me, but people who abuse pets seem particularly low on the scale of decency.

I guess it's because the animals are always subservient and essentially powerless, and treating them badly shows, in microcosm, how you would treat unimportant human beings.

I wonder how a wolf pack would treat Artest if the tables were turned.

mailto:rtelander@suntimes.com

Letters to our sports columnists appear Sunday. Send e-mail to inbox@suntimes.com. Include your full name, hometown and a daytime phone number.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Illinois; US: Indiana
KEYWORDS: ac; christianity; colts; dabears; dungy; indy; muslim; persection; religion; superbowl; tonydungy
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This is the first time I've ever seen a Superbowl loss attributed to the other team's Christianity.

Telander really inserts a couple of classic in here:

"I always have wondered how religion and tolerance bed down."

I would say that the great majority of Christians are a lot more tolerant than Telander shows himself to be with that one statement.

"-- and substitute the words ''Allah,'' ''Muslim'' or ''Koran'' in appropriate spots and see if your view changes."

Totally ignorant on Telander's part considering the near-veneration of Cassius Muhammad Ali Clay, Lew Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Alcindor, Chicago's own Muhsin Muhammad, et al.

1 posted on 02/11/2007 7:48:28 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief

Give the "journalist" a break. He just doesn't understand personal relationships with God.


2 posted on 02/11/2007 7:51:26 AM PST by Coldwater Creek
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To: mariabush

I was wondering how long it would take before this kind of crap started.....


3 posted on 02/11/2007 7:52:34 AM PST by tcrlaf (VOTE DEM! You'll Look GREAT In A Burqa!)
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To: Chi-townChief
Part of the MSM's Marching Orders is to step up the attacks in the media on conservative/Christians.
4 posted on 02/11/2007 7:53:01 AM PST by 100-Fold_Return (Thinketh Like A BILLIONAIRE)
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To: Chi-townChief

Nothing but a lefty using "tolerance" as a vehicle to preach his own intolerance.


5 posted on 02/11/2007 7:53:55 AM PST by Dreagon
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To: Chi-townChief

"The troubling aspect, of course, is simply that of intolerance. "

Pot meet kettle.


6 posted on 02/11/2007 7:55:23 AM PST by Kirkwood
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To: Chi-townChief

Sour Grapes and jealousy on display. Add a touch of God, and this journalist just shows his true nature. A little of Tonys religion would make a new man out of this guy.


7 posted on 02/11/2007 7:56:08 AM PST by dforest (Liberals love crisis, create crisis and then dwell on them.)
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To: Chi-townChief
Wow, a hit job out of Chicago. Who would have thunk it?

What team lost the Super Bowl again?

8 posted on 02/11/2007 7:56:10 AM PST by ditto h
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To: Chi-townChief
Takes a special kind of a-hole to go after Tony Dungy. (I am not a Colts fan)

The guy really has an even keel approach to everything, and believes and says some really inspirational things. Not to mention that he lost his young son a short year ago.

9 posted on 02/11/2007 7:56:32 AM PST by somemoreequalthanothers (All for the betterment of "the state", comrade)
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To: AbsoluteJustice; Augie76; Barnacle; BeAllYouCanBe; BillyBoy; Bismarck; bourbon; ...

CHICAGOLAND PING


10 posted on 02/11/2007 7:58:03 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief
I suspect that John Amaechi's 'coming out' was probably much more acceptable to this sports writer than any pro sports player being allowed to profess his faith. The crowd that identifies themselves as the most tolerant will accept ANYTHING except a strong belief in God.
11 posted on 02/11/2007 7:59:42 AM PST by originalbuckeye (I want a hero....I'm holding out for a hero (politically!))
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To: Chi-townChief

To put it another way, " Tony,your Christianity makes me uncomfortable so knock it off " !!!


12 posted on 02/11/2007 8:00:27 AM PST by Obie Wan
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To: mariabush

It's not that he just doesn't understand a personal relationship with God. It's that he's completely ignorant of the role of prayer in sports for time imemorium and intolerant of those who do have a personal relationship with God.

It's a great thing that Dungy got tied in with Indianapolis and their ownership. The pair are a good match.


13 posted on 02/11/2007 8:01:02 AM PST by CheyennePress
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To: Chi-townChief


Tony Dungy is fantastic, he speaks from his heart and knows that all things are possible through God. How else could a man who has been through what he has push forward and achieve such success.

Have any of ya'll seen the movie 'Facing the Giants'? If you haven't go rent it, you won't be sorry. Watch it with your family, it's a christian movie with football.


14 posted on 02/11/2007 8:03:08 AM PST by panthermom (Duncan Hunter 2008!)
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To: Chi-townChief

Stand this telander guy right next to Dungy, and he'll be so small in comparison, and I'm not talking about comparing their physical heights.

telander is nothing more than an ankle biter.


15 posted on 02/11/2007 8:04:40 AM PST by Vision Thing (I question the content of a liberal's character.)
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To: Chi-townChief

The troubling aspect(for myself), of course, is simply that of intolerance.


This man seems to be forgetting that he is speaking solely for himself.

His religious expression even trumped his honor at being the history-setting first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.

Now this is incredibly presumptious, "his honor" is exactly that "his honor" he may use his honor whichever way that he wishes, Lovie Smith and Tony Dungy made it crystal clear that they were Christian American not "Hyphenated Americans"

this writer seems to think that he is the arbiter of another person actions and beliefs, Tony Dungy made it perfectly clear that God led him through to win the Super Bowl, this man is trying to hijack Dungy's belief and use the victory for his own ends.

No wonder papers are going belly up.....


16 posted on 02/11/2007 8:06:43 AM PST by padre35 (I am from the "let's stop eating our own" wing of the Republican Party)
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To: Chi-townChief
Interesting how only Christianity / Catholicism seems to scare the death out of liberals. Probably has something to do with the 10 Commandments, a number of which they do not believe in.
17 posted on 02/11/2007 8:08:06 AM PST by technomage (You get what you want one step at a time)
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To: CheyennePress
I agree. I hope that the criticism is not because Dungy is black.

My good friend Joe Gibbs as received great press for his Christian beliefs.
18 posted on 02/11/2007 8:10:44 AM PST by Coldwater Creek
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To: mariabush

Tony Dungy earned his moment in the spotlight. He can say whatever he wants.

I was more than pleased to see that he can speak proper English, and doesn't manage to use 5 ,7,or 11 "you knows" in his sentances. More young men in sports need to look long and hard at his success and how much people really admire him for what he does- not who he is, AKA Paris Hilton.


19 posted on 02/11/2007 8:13:06 AM PST by ridesthemiles
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To: Chi-townChief

Did this idiot ever comment on Islamic attitudes toward sports? Weren't some Somalis executed by the Islamic Courts for watching a soccer match? Soccer stadiums were used by the Taliban as venues for public executions. Saddam's goons would beat the Iraqi soccer team when they lost.

As for Muhammad Ali, he'd be laughed out of court today-He refused to go into the military because he claimed his religion prohibited violence IIRC.


20 posted on 02/11/2007 8:13:59 AM PST by Frank_2001
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To: ridesthemiles

bingo!


21 posted on 02/11/2007 8:14:09 AM PST by Coldwater Creek
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To: Chi-townChief

"Totally ignorant on Telander's part considering the near-veneration of Cassius Muhammad Ali Clay, Lew Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Alcindor, Chicago's own Muhsin Muhammad, et al."

My thought exactly. If you substitute "allah", "muslim", etc. Then you don't hear a peep out of the likes of Telander. This guy is an idiot.
I'd like Telander to consider that the Christian faith is tolerant, especially compared to other religions. Christians embrace anyone who wants to come into our house of worship. And modern day Christians are not known for sawing off heads or blowing up others, among other atrocities.

Liberals can't stand moral authority, and moral absolutes, and they take it out on Christianity.


22 posted on 02/11/2007 8:14:45 AM PST by brownsfan (It's not a war on terror... it's a war with islam.)
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To: Chi-townChief

It's like I always say. The commies in the media would have loved it if Dungy would have never brought up Jesus or God or anything religious. But he did and guess what? The commies in the left wing propaganda machine dropped him like a hot potato. Just think if Tiger Woods said that he owes all of his success to the Lord Jesus Christ. he would be finished. I'll guarantee that.


23 posted on 02/11/2007 8:17:51 AM PST by rambo316 (The Blessed Mother is Queen of heaven and earth.)
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To: ridesthemiles

The NFL needs more guys like Tony Dungy.


24 posted on 02/11/2007 8:19:04 AM PST by 04-Bravo
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To: Kirkwood
"The troubling aspect, of course, is simply that of intolerance. " Pot meet kettle.

My thoughts exactly. Isn't he essentially telling Dungy how to live his faith? I've never heard Dungy telling another person how to live, beyond perhaps showing by example. Yet this guy feels threatened by that enough to suggest that Christianity's mere visibility is de facto intolerance and should be stomped out. His lack of personal insight is truly stunning.

25 posted on 02/11/2007 8:19:05 AM PST by MichiganMan (Last year, this consumer spent over $150 on native Linux games. Who wants my business next year?)
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To: technomage

Dungy's just a Christofascist godbag trying to impose his morality on those who want to f**k without consequence.(Oops,...sorry,I was being channeled through John Edwards blog.)


26 posted on 02/11/2007 8:20:35 AM PST by Carl LaFong ( Hi !)
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To: somemoreequalthanothers

"Takes a special kind of a-hole to go after Tony Dungy. (I am not a Colts fan)"

Another thing that's enjoyable is the dilemma faced by liberal a-holes, (redundant I know), covering the Super Bowl. They are left with wanting to sing the praises of 2 black coaches, since we all know that anything done by someone who isn't a white male is special. But the problem is both coaches are deeply religious, (Christian), men. Wow, what a conflict for a lib.

I was pulling for Tony Dungy. His public persona is awesome. How he handled the death of his son is something to be admired. Mr. Dungy also tried to acknowledge the race issue, and downplay it at the same time. Something that I appreciated. Finally, his profession of faith at a time when faith is regarded as something that only the weak minded have, (by the liberal MSM), shows strength of character and faith.
Good for Tony Dungy, God Bless him.


27 posted on 02/11/2007 8:21:25 AM PST by brownsfan (It's not a war on terror... it's a war with islam.)
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"I have a dream that one day my children will be judged by the content of their character, and not by the color of their skin."

When this finally the case, they bring up the color of the skin. Who cares that he and Lovey were AA? They are both really good coaches and they seem like decent men.

This guy seems like a class act. Even though they beat my Pats.

28 posted on 02/11/2007 8:21:28 AM PST by Vermont Lt (I am not from Vermont. I lived there for four years and that was enough.)
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To: Chi-townChief

This writer is a petty and jealous pissant. His insecurities glare through his writings. He wishes that he could accomplish something of merit and will attack anyone who does not share his narrow little secular view.

I do not have a dog in this hunt because I am pretty much religiously agnostic. However, I must say that I find Dungy's, and other devout sportsman's humility refreshing among the towering egos in pro sports. If it will take more religion to return honor and decency to pro sports, then I say: Hallelujah, and pass the ball!


29 posted on 02/11/2007 8:21:46 AM PST by ExpatGator (Extending logic since 1961.)
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To: indylindy; somemoreequalthanothers; ditto h

This attack by Telander is a hard one to figure because (at least as far as I know) Dungy and the Colts were very gracious winners and Lovie Smith and da Bears appeared gracious in defeat as well. Unless I missed something.


30 posted on 02/11/2007 8:21:57 AM PST by Chi-townChief
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To: Chi-townChief

If Dungy had asserted it was a new double, high-low, reverse blocking scheme that had led to success that's OK. But if attributes success to God...well that's wrong.


31 posted on 02/11/2007 8:22:51 AM PST by Drango (A liberal's compassion is limited only by the size of someone else's wallet.)
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To: Chi-townChief
He's mad because Dungy isn't your stereotypical black athlete or coach, in which he would have immediately whined about how being black in the NFL is so hard and there should be a special fund created to nuture future black coaches or something.

They were hoping for that soundbite and it never happened.

32 posted on 02/11/2007 8:25:30 AM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (Good night Chesty, wherever you are!)
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To: MichiganMan
His religious expression even trumped his honor at being the history-setting first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.

Modern day liberal blasphemy! In the mind of the intolerant leftist, you can't have religion trumping race.

33 posted on 02/11/2007 8:25:58 AM PST by pchuck
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To: Chi-townChief
He made it clear he was more interested in speaking about his Christian values than about his no-huddle offense.

His religious expression even trumped his honor at being the history-setting first African-American coach to win a Super Bowl.

Both he and Bears coach Lovie Smith were not only black coaches, Dungy stated, ''but Christian coaches showing you can win doing it the Lord's way. We're more proud of that.''

Says to me that Coach Dungy has his priorities exactly right!

34 posted on 02/11/2007 8:26:02 AM PST by pgkdan (Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions - G.K. Chesterton)
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To: mariabush
Give the "journalist" a break.

Sportswriters are not journalists. They are the normally congenial if somewhat retarded housepets of the hacks who populate newspaper offices.

35 posted on 02/11/2007 8:26:59 AM PST by hinckley buzzard
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To: Chi-townChief

"Having come face to face with a wolf on a dirt road in Michigan's Upper Peninsula in late fall a couple of years ago, I can tell you it is a hair-raising experience."

Teleander should have prayed.

"It will be interesting to follow this guy (Tyson)with the nutty face tattoo and the ruined boxing reputation to the very end."

Tyson should learn to pray too.

"I wonder how a wolf pack would treat Artest if the tables were turned."

Artest would be praying too.

Telander should pray and thank God that he lives in a free nation where he can continue to write such vacuuous drivel.


36 posted on 02/11/2007 8:28:03 AM PST by miele man (Continually voting against iodine deficient libs for 42 years)
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To: Chi-townChief
The troubling aspect, of course, is simply that of intolerance.

I wonder if the nitwit writing this has any idea of the irony of this sentence? Coach Dungy gave witness to his Christian faith...he didn't malign anyone else or any other faith and for that this writer is highly critical and intolerant. And he accuses Dungy of intolerance!

37 posted on 02/11/2007 8:28:46 AM PST by pgkdan (Tolerance is the virtue of the man without convictions - G.K. Chesterton)
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To: ditto h

The irony is that the Chicago coach is also a devout Christian, IIRC.


38 posted on 02/11/2007 8:32:39 AM PST by WashingtonSource
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To: Chi-townChief

I agree with you. A hatred of religion has more to do with it, I think. These people show their own intolerence by really even caring what methodology Dungy or Lovie Smith use. I thought the Bears showed class at their loss. I think it is time to quit blamimg Grossman for the whole loss, though. On to next year. Hope its a good season for both teams!


39 posted on 02/11/2007 8:34:28 AM PST by dforest (Liberals love crisis, create crisis and then dwell on them.)
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To: Chi-townChief

The only problem I had with Dungy's statements was saying the Colts believed in God more than the Bears do.

I guess the millions the McCaskeys have given to rebuild and remodel churches all over the world makes them atheists. I thought it was just catholic but while that is the bulk it has gone to all types of churches as well as some synagogues.


40 posted on 02/11/2007 8:42:42 AM PST by dleecomeback07 (Pitchers and catchers report February 15th)
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To: Chi-townChief
It always has seemed peculiar and disconcerting to me that religious beliefs -- mainly fundamentalist Christian ones -- have been so closely aligned with football, especially at the highest levels.

"Separation of religion and sport!"
41 posted on 02/11/2007 8:43:58 AM PST by modhom
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To: All

Not surprisingly Naxi Rick has blocked emails.


42 posted on 02/11/2007 8:45:02 AM PST by dleecomeback07 (Pitchers and catchers report February 15th)
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To: Chi-townChief

I'm happy for the guy, and I think it's great that he's a devout Christian who's not afraid to give voice to his values. I've always liked the guy. I used to watch him play when he was the quarterback at the University of Minnesota. He's earned his success and the right to say what he wants.


43 posted on 02/11/2007 8:49:46 AM PST by ContraryMary (New Jersey -- Superfund cleanup capital of the U.S.A.)
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To: All

This is the same Rick Telender who said a few years ago that he was sick of seeing baseball players point to the sky etc before batting, pitching etc. And specifically moaned about Carlos Zambrano and Sammy Sosa and other spanish ones.

Funny thing about this KKK boy is that Kerry Wood and Mark Prior do as well. Last time I checked neither are hispanic.

And frankly if you played for the Cubs wouldn't you pray as well?


44 posted on 02/11/2007 8:50:18 AM PST by dleecomeback07 (Pitchers and catchers report February 15th)
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To: modhom

Most of our greatest athletes are devout christians.

I know a few Cubs that have told me that their faith helps them get through the tough times and doubts etc and through the hard work of even getting there entails.


45 posted on 02/11/2007 8:52:04 AM PST by dleecomeback07 (Pitchers and catchers report February 15th)
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To: indylindy
The writers'intolerence of Christianity is palpable. What we have here is an intolerent writer intolerent of tolerating the only faith which tolerates other faiths. Does Islam tolerate other faiths....it seems not with decapitations and stonings ubiquitous. Jesus said, 'turn the other cheek', love your enemies, do good to those who despitefully use you, if someone does wrong to you tolerate it 70 times 7.

I am remined of something I just read regarding Robert E. Lee on FR thread where Samuel Clemens was quoted as saying, "There is nothing harder to put up with than than the words of a good man."

46 posted on 02/11/2007 8:52:08 AM PST by Texas Songwriter
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To: Chi-townChief

A perfect example of a person falling through his own a**-hole and hanging himself!


47 posted on 02/11/2007 8:56:29 AM PST by F-117A (Mr. Ahtisaari, give Sápmi it's independence! Free the Sami!!!)
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To: Texas Songwriter

You said it just right. Both of these teams were coached by good men. He is only a petty little intolerant sports guy who is basically jealous of these men for their success using their Christian principles. I think these people don't understand the idea that, no, they are not saying they pray to make a win, but that they pray to give them strength, win or lose, and to hold to their principles to do it. Now, what is wrong with that?


48 posted on 02/11/2007 9:01:33 AM PST by dforest (Liberals love crisis, create crisis and then dwell on them.)
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To: dleecomeback07
This from Wikipedia entry for "Rick Telander" Click Here For Link To Wikipedia Listing:

"An editor has expressed a concern that the subject of the article does not satisfy the notability guideline ........ for inclusion on Wikipedia..."

Probably entered himself on Wikipedia, saw the editor's slapdown, and fired off this ridiculous, loathesome column as a desperate attempt to attain the requisite "notability." What a jackass.

49 posted on 02/11/2007 9:04:45 AM PST by Zebra
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To: panthermom

This jerk can voice his beliefs in the papers, let see what would happen if someone reported it from God's side, never would be allowed.


50 posted on 02/11/2007 9:05:46 AM PST by gulfcoast6
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