Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com wrote an interesting article recently regarding the Colts, interim head coach Bruce Arians, and the franchise possibly using "faith" as a prerequisite for employment. Here's Florio commentary in an article titled Atheists may not be welcome in Indy:
Asked whether there’s a certain type of player Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson hopes to bring to the organization, interim coach Bruce Arians said this: "A high quality person who has passion for football and cares about faith, family and football."
But why is it relevant to care about faith? Is there any legitimate connection between belief in a Higher Power and the ability to demonstrate the kind of speed and/or power that makes a guy a pro athlete?
Now, it's important to note right off the bat that Florio is not writing this because some source told him that so-and-so player wasn't drafted or signed by the Colts because he doesn't believe in God. At least, that is not what is said in the article.
I'll admit that the title is suggestive as hell, but it seems clear to me that it and the subject matter are designed to stir conversation (also known as "the pot"), not to inform readers that the Colts are doing something illegal.
Florio's article is in response to a statement straight from the mouth of Bruce Arians when it comes to players he wants: "A high quality person who has passion for football and cares about faith, family and football."
Faith is listed No. 1 on this list, ahead of family and football. You have to admit, that is interesting.
Again, on some level, Florio is not saying that the Colts are being prejudiced against the faithless. However, he is suggesting something by quoting a section of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement which prohibits teams from discrimination because of "race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, or activity or lack of activity on behalf of the NFLPA." He also offers free legal advice (Florio's a former lawyer) to Arians, politely suggesting that, next time, he leave the faith comments to yourself.
As a fan, I could care less if a player believes in the Christian son of God named Jesus or in the gloomy Conan the Barbarian deity named Crom. I don't care if he thinks there is no god of any kind. I just want the guy to score touchdowns and help my team win. I think most fans feel this way. Those that don't, or those who feel that they cannot root for a person unless they are of a certain faith, have something fundamentally WRONG with their brains.
That last sentence isn't just my opinion. It's common friggin' sense.
I think that Ryan Grigson, Colts G.M., isn't one to bring in people based on their faith. When asked what his draft "philosophy" is back in his pre-draft press conference, he said:
To get football players who know how to play the game. Guys that you don't have to worry about when you're not watching them. Guys that have talent. It's really a blend. You're dealing with human beings. You can't just pick one type of player. you need to sprinkle a little bit in all over the place.
In that same conference, he stressed this:
You don't want to ever pass on a really good football player.
We wrote an article that touched on the perception that the Colts drafted players based on their faith back in 2011. It was a draft profile of Wisconsin tackle Gabe Carimi, a practicing Jew who observes Saturday as his holy day of rest. He also fasts prior to the Yom Kippur holiday, which usually falls in early October. The article generated some pretty crazy comments, especially my statement that the Colts really needed to "tone down the Christian stuff." Former Colts players, like Jacob Tamme, used to openly tout how Caldwell and the Colts coaches set a good, "Christian example," as if to suggest any other religious example would not be as "good."
Personally, I still feel that the Colts need to tone down the Christian stuff, even with Caldwell now gone. The team pretty openly promotes themselves as a team of Christian faith, not faith in general. As someone who does not personally believe in that traditional faith, this annoys me.
As a fan in general, I don't care about God, Jesus, heaven, or hell when it comes to football teams and players. I care about touchdowns, field goals, sacks, interceptions, and winning.
For you readers out there, regardless of your personal religious beliefs, I think we can agree that a player or other franchise employee's religious affiliation is no one's business. Not Bruce Arians'. Not Ryan Grigson's. Not Jim Irsay's. No one. It should have no barring on whether or not a person is hired, drafted, or signed. If it is, then that's illegal and something should be done to stop it.
The goal is to win, and spread the word of the Lord, or Adonai, or Allah, or Crom.
Please feel free to comment below. Part of the reason for this article is to open things up for discussion. Please, be respectful of ALL BELIEFS, and try and focus this on the Colts. Does Florio's article bother you? Do you think the Colts should employ people based on faith? Do you think it's a cheap ploy to get attention?
If you don't want to talk about this subject at all, then post your Halloween pics!
Personally, I think the Colts should only draft and employ people who can recite the Conan "Crom speech" by heart: