Interceptions are just part of football. And usually fans cheer when their side gets the ball. But no one was cheering for Tony Williams last Sunday when he intercepted the wrong pass!
The pass in question was intended for Christa Barrett. She is a Bengals fan and she ran down to the end-zone to celebrate as Jermaine Gresham, tight end for the Bengals, scored a touchdown. Gresham saw Christa and tried to toss the ball to her. Williams, a Saints fan, “intercepted” the pass and got flagged for ‘pass interference’ by the fans and social media.
Tony isn’t a bad guy. He is a Veteran, a 70 year-old pensioner, and a season ticket holder for decades. He loves his wife, his daughter, and his 8 year-old grandson. But, in sports, the player-fan gift is sacred, almost untouchable. And if that gift is to a woman or a child…well, forget-about-it…there are rules!
But where do those rules come from? If this life is all that ever will be, what would cause us to be horrified at a man knocking a woman out of the way to intercept a ball? Why not get what you can, while you can?
Because like it or not, our “rules” are influenced by the Bible’s teaching regarding justice. And the Bible teaches that God hates injustice (Isaiah 59:15). And justice is always being threatened. Nathan rebuked King David for the horrible injustice of taking a man’s wife and killing him to cover up adultery. Jesus taught that men should get their justice right before they pick up stones to kill an alleged adulteress. Jesus defended the innocence of little children and their access to the Kingdom.
So I suppose, some thought that they were defending justice when they defended chivalry. And maybe they had the right heart, but the wrong execution.
Interceptions may be part of football, but what happened off the field degraded into a shameful activity. Some judged Williams to be a monster. Then the yelling started. Then social media lit up with death threats and racial slurs. Chivalry was an excuse to curse Williams, but it is clear that kindness went out the window!
We are still just as sinful as the days of Cain & Abel. And when we see something we don’t like, our reaction is often just as violent. Christa ended up getting a ball from the Saints and one from the Bengals, so I guess Chivalry isn’t dead. But what about Williams’ grandson who was afraid to go to school the next day? What about racism? What about hatred?
The truth is, we aren’t evolving in our morality. And until we learn to obey God’s ways and follow Jesus’ example, we never will. Micah reminded us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. And remember, sometimes a football is just a football!