The Beliefs of Bobby Bowden
As a Carolina Blue–blooded Tar Heel, I've never been much of a fan of Florida State and its head football coach Bobby Bowden. I wasn't pleased when his football-factory school was added to the Atlantic Coast Conference in the early 1990s, and I've had problems with the laissez-faire attitude he's exhibited toward the bad behavior of some of his star players. However, as a Christian, I am pleased with the stand Bowden has been taking toward . . . Christianity in the locker room.
As you may be aware, the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, has been in some hot water lately because its campus environment, including its football program, has been deemed "too Christian" for a U.S. service academy. At a speaking engagement last month before the Southern Colorado Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Bowden came to the defense of Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry, who last year was told to remove a banner from the Falcons' locker room that offered the "Competitor's Creed," which said in part, "I am a Christian first and last . . . I am a member of Team Jesus Christ." (DeBerry, by the way, was, on several occasions, a rumored candidate for the UNC job.)
During his speech, Bowden reportedly said of DeBerry, "He's fighting a heck of a battle because he happens to be a Christian, and he wants his boys to be saved. I want my boys to be saved. We realize we have other religions with us. The coach has a responsibility to these boys to try to influence their spiritual life, their physical life and their academic life. . . . We know we're going to get challenged on it, but that's what we believe in. I ain't gonna back down."
You tell 'em Bobby.
Hat tip to Robert L. Cobb at News! For Christians, who has posted links on his site to articles both for and against the stance Bowden and DeBerry are taking. On his site, Cobb makes an excellent point: "No one seems to have any problem with the Ward Churchills of the world influencing students. Why can't Christian teachers have an influence?"