My wife and I enjoy watching the Olympics, and it is especially rewarding to hear the testimonies of Christian faith from some of the Olympic athletes. This weekend I will be sharing from the pulpit the testimony of swimmer Michael Phelps, who has won more gold medals than anyone else in Olympic history. I was impressed when two divers won medals and gave glory to God by saying that they did not find their “identity” in Olympic accomplishment but in Christ. I will share one of those stories in my sermon next weekend. I will also be telling the story of U.S. swimmer Simone Manuel who has an admirable testimony of faith in Christ.
One Olympic star said he believes God has given him this platform to share his faith with the world and bring glory to God! This is a good thing. We have certainly seen athletes use their platform for other causes.
However, I found it very interesting when a famous NBC sportscaster this week televised a feature on the recent change in Michael Phelps’ life, NBC specifically omitted the obvious — that Phelps says his life has changed because of his newfound faith in Christ. Any number of websites have carried Phelps’ newfound Christian testimony. He says that even after 18 medals, his life was at a low-point. Arrested twice for DUI, embittered from his father, photographed smoking dope — he says his life was a mess and that he was potentially suicidal. Then came NFL star Ray Lewis into his life sharing Christian faith and a Christian book — which turned Phelps life around.
So, how does NBC handle this? They interview him up to the point where he says he was at the low-point of his life, despairing of life. Then the sportscaster takes over in the clip explaining that Phelps is now a father, getting married (as he should) to the mother of his child, reconciled with his own father, at peace with himself, etc. But they cut the interview off and do not say anything about his new found faith in God causing the change in his life.
C’mon, NBC! If Phelps had become a Muslim or announced he was transgender, NBC would make sure the whole world knows about it. Why is his clear and obvious story of finding Christ in his life — the very cause he says has changed his life for the good — omitted from a story, whereas this aspect of his life is included by other media outlets?
The media bias in our society in religion, politics and sports is inexcusable.